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Ardwyn Nursery and Infant School

A Grade II Listed Building in Welshpool, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6637 / 52°39'49"N

Longitude: -3.1512 / 3°9'4"W

OS Eastings: 322236

OS Northings: 307957

OS Grid: SJ222079

Mapcode National: GBR B0.56TL

Mapcode Global: WH79P.K9MR

Entry Name: Ardwyn Nursery and Infant School

Listing Date: 7 May 1996

Last Amended: 7 May 1996

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18041

Building Class: Education

Location: Prominently sited above the town, though set back below Red Bank, towards its summit.

County: Powys

Community: Welshpool (Y Trallwng)

Community: Welshpool

Built-Up Area: Welshpool

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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History

The school was opened in June 1951, designed by Herbert Carr, County Architect for Montgomeryshire. The first post-war school to be completed in Welshpool, it was considered to be a model of its type.

Exterior

The building has a highly unusual plan, with a 'cellular' or 'island' layout in which the 5 classrooms form separate blocks, each with its own cloakroom facilities, connected to the main assembly hall by corridors and covered ways. Built on a steeply sloping site, facing S, the hall with its kitchens and service rooms forms the central block of a rear range parallel to the slope, linked by a covered way to symmetrically planned classroom blocks to either side, and by 2 corridors which run down hill to either side of a central classroom, to connect with 2 further classrooms at the lower end of the site. Buff brick and concrete construction, with steep green tiled roofs. Each classroom has continuous fenestration ( with metal glazing bars) in its S-facing principle elevation, recessed and with the roof carried forward on bold, raking eaves; each is flanked by store-room and cloakroom blocks, expressed externally by their flat roofed construction, and in the lower classrooms forming a continuation of the flat-roofed corridors which run to the rear. The upper classrooms each have French windows - the lower and central classrooms have tall concertina-folding windows. Each of these blocks has an independent entrance (into the cloakroom) - there is no main entrance to the school. Smaller windows set high up in these service blocks and the corridors. The central classroom is similarly detailed, with cloakrooms and offices on the outer sides of its flanking corridors, and paired glazed-brick windows (lighting the corridors) flanking the recessed main window. The upper classrooms have continuous fenestration in their upper elevations; smaller windows to either side of rear chimney in central classroom, and top lighting (above the corridors) in the lower classrooms - thus providing through lighting and ventilation in each of the blocks. The hall is primarily lit from the rear, with the roof carried forward slightly over the 5 windows (with pivoting openings). Outer paired doors in the S elevation onto the covered way, with 3 windows between them.

Interior

The building is simply detailed internally, the rooms characterised by the large areas of window. The plan arrangement in which cloakroom facilities are integral to each classroom block is also a distinctive feature of the layout.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as an exceptionally good example of a school building in the ambitious post-war programme of development in Montgomeryshire: a programme given a strong character through the work of Herbert Carr. Ardwyn School was considered to be a model of innovative planning when it was built and gives lucid architectural expression to the educational ideas which were influential in the early 1950's: in particular, its cellular plan in which each classroom is a self-contained unit, laid out in such a way as to gain maximum use of natural light, ventilation and prospect, is a highly imaginative response to concepts of active learning. The clear separation of the different elements of the building is combined with a dynamic overall composition, using the distinctive architectural vocabulary of Herbert Carr to create a highly original example of an important post-war building type.

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