Colourful Cambridge Campaign


Project: The Grove Primary School, Campkin Road


The makeover project at The Grove Primary School, Campkin Road, was carried out by a mixed team of volunteers and professionals over the two days of October 7th and 8th 2009. The team was led by Margherita Cesca, an architect whose services were donated by the Cambridge office of Capita Architecture. Other volunteer support was provided by contractors Wilmott Dixon, and free paint was provided by Dulux. The project was initiated as part of a national scheme organised by the British Council for School Environments, with the support of Cambridgeshire County Council. 

The objective was to do a quick-hit economical two-day exercise to brighten up the front of the school. It is a long low building in dark brick. Its front elevation faces north, and presents a gloomy front to the world.

Margherita organised a workshop with pupils and teachers, to gather ideas on how the school entrance could be brightened up. The children came forward with many creative ideas, involving bright colours, sea, sky, animals and people.

She then came forward with a design with three main elements:

a. Taking a vertical band of bricks which runs right along the front of the building about one metre above ground, and painting each brick in a random bright colour.

b. Painting the vertical reveals of the windows in bright colours.

c. Painting a low vertical tower adjacent to the entrance white, and applying a decorative mural incorporating water, foliage, sky and animals.

First the vertical bricks were marked with chalk to show which colour was to be applied:

The next image shows work in progress:

Here is a section of the finished coloured banding. Margherita describes it as a rainbow hugging the school. She points out that it is at eye height for the smaller children, so that every time they come to school they will be welcomed with colour:

And here is the team, with some of the children, celebrating the completion of the two-day project. A section of the coloured banding can be seen behind the boy on the left. Margherita Cesca is at bottom right.

A job well done!


The Colourful Cambridge Campaign encourages the wider and more imaginative use of colour in Cambridge - on buildings old and new. Our aspiration is to make Cambridge Britain's most colourful city. The Director of the Colourful Cambridge Campaign is Alex Reid, email:


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