Mary and David Medd’s work: domesticity in postwar British school design (1949–72)

Paula Lacomba Montes, A. Campos Uribe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on the schools developed by Mary and David Medd within the Ministry of Education in Great Britain, 1949–1976. Their main contribution to the field of Educational Architecture was the definition of a design strategy known as Built-in variety, where the self-contained classrooms (empty-box-school) disappeared in favour of a variety of dissimilar places. Indeed, the Medds sustained a very innovative view from which primary educational architecture was profoundly reconceptualised, getting closer to a home than to an institution. Actually, the paper argues that it was precisely this driving principle – school as a home – that was responsible for the dismantlement of the traditional school types. This article proposes a close look into the design process as an object of study in its own right, in search for the underlying principles of the Medds' primary school designs. The acknowledgement of some features of the English house has been a good means of coming to understand the Medds’ strategy and its domestic aura, for the schools’ spatial hierarchy recalls the internal spatial structure of Arts and Crafts houses of the late nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-617
Number of pages21
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Medd
  • domesticity
  • educational architecture
  • post-war schools


Dive into the research topics of 'Mary and David Medd’s work: domesticity in postwar British school design (1949–72)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this