Employment Academy by
Peter Barber Architects

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London studio Peter Barber Architects has added an L-shaped wing to an Arts & Crafts-style building in south-east London to create an advice and training centre for unemployed people (+ slideshow).

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

The new two-storey brick structure extends from the rear of the early twentieth-century offices of the Poor Law Guardians of Southwark, forming a quadrangle of new and old buildings around a paved courtyard.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

Peter Barber Architects specified a sandy coloured brickwork for the construction of the new wing, setting it apart from the red brick and stone facades that have been restored as part of the renovation.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

To complement the turrets and other decorative elements of the Arts & Crafts architecture, the studio added a three-storey periscope-shaped tower to the north-east corner of the complex.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

There's also a semi-circular wall recess with a half-dome roof, known as an exedra, framing one end of the central courtyard.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

Balconies and doorways reveal the thickness of the new walls. Meanwhile, windows on some of the existing facades have been relocated, made visible by the mixture of new and aged bricks.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

The architects carried out a full renovation of the old offices, which now accommodate the administration facilities of the employment agency, while the new buildings provide the training centre.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

A community cafe is positioned along the eastern facade and can be accessed directly from the adjacent Havil Street.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

Peter Barber Architects also recently completed another community building in London - a centre for drug and alcohol rehabilitation with a cantilevered upper storey. See more architecture by Peter Barber Architects »

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

Other community buildings built from brick include an open-air complex in rural Bangladesh and a hospice with gabled roof profiles in London. See more brick buildings »

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects

Photography is by Morley von Sternberg.

Read on for more information from Peter Barber Architects:


Employment Academy

The Employment Academy is a state of the art training and advice centre in Southwark. It is set up to offer skills training and support services for long term workless people with the intention of helping them back into sustainable employment.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

In 2009 PBA were approached by the charity Thames Reach to make a proposal for the refurbishment and substantial extension of ET Hall's magnificent late Arts & Craft Poor Law Guardian's building in Camberwell, south-east London.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
First floor plan - click for larger image

Barber's scheme is laid out around a delightful courtyard formed on two sides by a new L shaped training wing. Administration offices and a community café within the existing building form the remaining sides of the courtyard. The courtyard is conceived as the social heart of the project.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
Second floor plan - click for larger image

New buildings are built in a rustic brick in a manner which might be called picturesque. Thick walls facing the courtyard incorporate a dramatic inset terrace, window seats and a south-facing domed exedra.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
Third floor plan - click for larger image

Existing facades are handled as a complex patchwork of new and reclaimed brick, of new windows cut in and old ones bricked up.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
Long section - click for larger image

ET Hall's treatment of the eastern wing of his building is pretty quirky, all turrets and mini towers... so Barber's scheme adds one extra in the form of a tasty little tower with an extraordinary brick vaulted roof.

Employment Academy by Peter Barber Architects
Cross section - click for larger image