Ambler School | Islington

Ambler Children’s Centre in Islington is the result of a successful, collaborative approach to Early Years provision and was shortlisted for the Partners in Excellence Award 2006. It features new and refurbished accommodation to provide 60 nursery places, with extended day services that were carefully planned to reduce disruption to the primary school’s timetable.

Exploiting the site’s attributes resulted in the natural placing of the new building:

  • A derelict finely crafted building was salvaged to take advantage of the embedded energy.
  • An unused wild garden retained in a natural state adds variation, excitement and challenge, with shady glades and twisty secret paths.
  • Reinstating a secondary entrance allowed separation of cars from children.
  • The existing pond provides safe access to plant and insect life study.

The design approach included:

    • Simple progression of rooms, each with direct access to outside play, linked with a multi-purpose corridor.
    • Facilities for the youngest children situated on the quieter western side, while older children are adjacent to the main school encouraging gradual integration.
    • Cedar clad renewable softwood timber frame.
    • High levels of insulation to substantially reduce heat loss.
    • Deep overhangs to reduce summer solar gain.
    • North facing rooflights allow natural light to penetrate into the depth of the building without glare.
    • Low windows and plenty of wall display space.
    • Sliding glazed doors with level thresholds.
    • Under floor heating.
    • Natural, eco-friendly marmoleum, additionally cushioned in the baby area to protect vulnerable crawling knees.


Client: CEA Islington

Contract value: £1.3m

Completion: September 2006

Architect: Potter + Holmes Architects

Ellis and Moore Consulting Engineers

Sovereign House 1 Albert Place, Finchley, London, N3 1QB

020 7281 4821 -

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