St. Christopher's School -Brief
St. Christopher’s Prep School for Girls isn’t any old school. Over 140 years ago, the school was founded as a small establishment in Hampstead, run entirely by Miss Roberts in her father’s drawing room. The original house (32 Belsize Lane) was previously a training centre for young gentlewomen and was purchased by St. Christopher’s in 1919, however, the school has been in existence since 1883. St. Christopher’s rapidly transformed into one of the most prestigious schools in North London, offering world-class education to a range of ages.
The school has clear and distinct passions that it diligently follows: creativity, curiosity and intellectual pursuits. St. Christopher’s doesn’t want their girls to simply make their way in the world; they want them to change the world. Observing, thinking, taking risks and campaigning on vital issues are the hallmarks of a top-class education at St. Christopher’s.
With that in mind, the spaces students spend their early years in are crucially important. After expanding into more modern buildings, St Christopher’s School needed assistance with the fit-out and delivery of their new areas. That’s where Envoplan come in.
After carrying out an extensive review and setting out a 10-year Master Plan, St. Christopher’s was keen to work with Envoplan to create their vision. St Christopher’s School has had a range of incarnations, but throughout has provided a nurturing education in Hampstead, with a distinct emphasis on creativity. This was the key focus moving forward with the spaces.
The school worked with a trusted designer, who already knew and trusted us, to develop creative designs that reflected the school’s distinct ethos. The design emphasis for St. Christopher’s was to create areas that feel like home, as opposed to an educational institution. An emphasis on good mental health, self-empowerment, self-care, inclusion, kindness, compassion and open-mindedness inevitably developed throughout the project planning.
With the planning and designs complete, we utilised our professional expertise in fitting and delivery to ensure that the school received the highest quality spaces possible.
The works carried out were completed in the original building within a very tight timeframe. Working on buildings as old as the ones on the St Christopher’s site requires additional care and attention to detail. It’s safe to say there were some challenges to conquer.
On the ground floor, the Reception, Main Office and the Year 1 classroom were swapped around. This included a challenging process – creating a doorway through the main structure while stabilising the wall of the old house – which we swiftly solved.
The use of natural materials and colours, as well as biophilia and modern, stylish lighting, undeniably added to the distinctiveness of the spaces. On the second floor, the staffroom was given a complete make-over, which the senior leadership felt was well-deserved after two stringent years of COVID restrictions and limited socialising. We couldn’t agree more.
The Headteacher’s room was also transformed with clever joinery work and decorating in dark colours. A “Mural Wallpaper”, which is a copy of a painting of Hampstead Heath by John Constable, was also hung on the wall as a testament to St. Christopher’s unique location and setting.
To upgrade the entrance hall and grand staircase, we used Amtico wood flooring to provide a crucial blend of style and durability. In the conservatory, which is situated adjacent to the main office, we returned the space to its original purpose using plants and break-out furniture. The conservatory was also painted in the original style, with the black paint looking beautiful against the red brickwork and providing a nostalgic nod to the past.
When it came to the classroom refurbishment, we made sure to include the very best teaching walls. These give teachers the ability to store all resources neatly away while removing distractions and accommodating the height-adjustable Plasma screen. Other successful inclusions to the classroom spaces were dedicated teacher’s workstations and trapezoidal-shaped tables with modern one-piece chairs.
The natural spaces surrounding the school are nothing short of stunning. Being close to the famous Hampstead Heath, we ensured that the refurbishment that was carried out brought a slice of that relaxing energy comfortably inside the school walls.