Ambitious plans to create a dual purpose building were first discussed with the Practice in 2010, with the School’s pressing need to expand the Pre-Prep teaching facilities but also to update the Prep School’s successful but aging Art and Design department.
The first floor new Art & Design department is reached via a ‘bridge’ from a helical staircase which rises dramatically from a display area. The long axis of the building running east-west allows the studios to be flooded with north light, and at ground floor the Pre-prep classrooms are light and free of glare.
The building design is uncompromisingly contemporary. The flowing nature of the building allows the long central corridors to follow the curve and so reduce their apparent lengths. At first floor, with glazed walls between studios and the access ‘corridor’ and with the views to the north, the space is functional but also exciting and inspiring.
The new building, of total area 1130m2 over the two floors, incorporates sustainable technologies including ground source heat pumps and passive natural ventilation (with ventilation towers on the gently curving roof) which reduce its ‘carbon footprint’.