Artist’s design inspires new school building

Published: 12 June 2018 at 14:00

Ivydale School

Primary school uses work by former Anglia Ruskin University student as influence

A London primary school has opened a new building based on an illustration by a former Anglia Ruskin University student.
The new Inverton building at Ivydale School, in south east London, was inspired by the Fox in the Forest, an illustration by Julia Woolf. According to architects Hawkins\Brown, the work “informed both the design of the bold triangular brick pattern and the interior design strategy”. 
Julia, of Faversham, Kent, graduated from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art in 2015 and is also a former animation artist, having worked in the United States for Dreamworks on high-profile projects such as Madagascar and Shrek 1 and 2. Her debut picturebook, Giraffe on a Bicycle, was published in 2016 by Macmillan UK.
She produced the Fox in the Forest, a colourful nature scene featuring a fox negotiating its way through trees and bushes of various sizes and colours, while working on her MA, and the illustration has influenced the design of the new building in various ways, from the shape of the brickwork to the orange teachers’ chairs – a nod to the cunning fox!
Julia officially opened the new building in a ceremony attended by school staff and pupils as well as MP Harriet Harman and architect, Shoko Kijima.
Julia said: 

“When I was first contacted by the headteacher a few years ago I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. But every so often I would receive an update on building work and it was amazing to see the building in person.
“The attention to detail and how they had kept to the palette of my illustration was fantastic. It was a fabulous day. I’m so proud, as it is a very unusual thing to happen.”

Professor Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Anglia Ruskin, said: 

“Julia is a very talented illustrator who has launched a successful publishing career since graduating with us. 
“This unique project is a great example of the breadth of influence that illustration can have.”

Shoko Kijima, Project Architect at Hawkins\Brown, said: 

“During the initial design briefing for Ivydale, we explored how the building could reflect the school’s core values. 
“Julia’s illustration portrayed a sense of exploration, narrative and imagination, which complemented the school’s ethos and their passion for the arts. From it we drew inspiration for the material and colour palette, as well as the proportion and balance of colours. We’re delighted that Julia likes the building!”