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Grimshaw unwraps £14m extension to Dulwich College

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Grimshaw has completed a new science building at Dulwich College in south London


The £14 million project, which is the practice’s first school building, replaces a 1950s structure next to the listed Charles Barry Junior-designed private school. 

The scheme for the nearly 400 year-old independent boys’ school in south London marks the first phase of the masterplan drawn up by John McAslan + Partners. 

The S-shaped building which features a three-storey atrium, includes science laboratories wrapped around a 240-seat auditorium alongside five ‘Informatics’ suites. 

Biology, physics and chemistry departments each have their own dedicated floor while there is also the option to adjust the individual lab spaces to create ‘science studio’ environments. 

The project’s façade includes a composition of materials designed to ensure the new building sits in harmony with its surrounding historical neighbours and includes terracotta, bronze anodised aluminium, and pre-cast concrete panels. 

The highly sustainable building also features photovoltaic panels on all available roof spaces, fixed visors on windows to shade from cooling, and ground source cooling via a thermally active building system. 

Grimshaw partner, Jolyon Brewis said: ‘Working with Dulwich College has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. The attention to detail in the design reflects the high standard set by the client, who has sought to deliver an exceptional building of real value to the school and wider community. The Laboratory will inspire students though science and the arts for many years to come.’ 

While client Joe Spence, master of Dulwich College, added: ‘The Laboratory has fulfilled everything we wanted of it; it stands next to and in harmony with, but is not unduly deferential to, our iconic Barry Buildings of 1870 and plays its part in reflecting the College’s commitment to tradition and innovation. In accordance with our original aim, it is proving to be a first-class home for science and an equally successful venue for the arts.’ 

Grimshaw beat off a high profile shortlist of Walters and Cohen, Amanda Levete and Hopkins in a competition to design the extension held back in December 2011.

Site plan

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

South elevation 

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

Roof sketch 

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

The Laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw

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