The school wanted to create an area for its growing number of sixth form students which would be more of a transitional space between the feel of a school and an entrepreneurial and creative workplace. We were invited to submit design ideas to repurpose the Old School House and to link it into the existing Grosvenor Building. In its brief, the school sought “a modern design sympathetic with the heritage of the site”.
One of the key design decisions was to bring daylight into the heart of the building via an ‘oculus’ – an eye shaped opening in the second-floor structure that links social and study spaces and enables the lower floors to be bathed in natural light from the newly formed roof windows along the ridge of the building. We made the most of the architectural features of the original building by exposing the brickwork, opening up an original fireplace and exposing roof trusses which revealed the warmth and vitality of the original elements of construction.
After a long COVID delay, the school were able to host a wonderful official opening of the Old School House in September 2021 with the Duke of Westminster in attendance as owner of the Grosvenor Estate to which the building belongs.
Seeing the sixth formers in the building, watching them make it their own and getting their excited feedback was particularly rewarding.
The building was a finalist in Education Architect of the Year Awards 2021 for Building Design.