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Squire and Partners completes timber-framed technology block

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Squire and Partners has completed this £360,000 design and technology building at St James School in Ashford, Kent


The timber-framed building was designed to accommodate 20 students and two teaching staff alongside an office, plant and store room. 

It occupies an area of the school grounds which were previously home to a series of sheds and storage units. 

The 175m² building is clad in black vertically laid weatherboard and features a concealed gutter and flush pyramid rooflight. 

According to the architects the scheme with its exposed structure ‘takes inspiration from traditional craftsmanship’. 

St James School Design and Technology Block by Squire and Partners

St James School Design and Technology Block by Squire and Partners

Architect’s view 

Taking inspiration from the craftsmanship and simple technology of timber-frame buildings in the southeast of England, the building envelope is clad in a black vertical weather-board and cover strip system, within which a concealed gutter and flush pyramidal roof-light ensures the purity of the building form is not compromised. 

The traditional pegged mortise and tenon joints within the timber frame are counterpoised by steel hex-head fixings and sheets of birch-faced ply panels lining the walls, balancing tradition and modernity. The honesty of construction and robust interior provide a simple and practical backdrop for the workshop activities within. 

Exposing the timber structure and employing traditional construction methods were an important part of the project, as it clearly displays to the students the beauty, longevity and practicality of timber as a building material.

St James School Design and Technology Block by Squire and Partners

St James School Design and Technology Block by Squire and Partners

Project data 

Location Ashford, Surrey
Type of project school
Client St James Senior Boys’ School/Independent Education Trust
Architect Squire and Partners
Structural engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan
Quantity surveyor Bollingbrook
M&E consultant Peter Deer Associates
Main contractor STP Solutions
Wood supplier Carpenter Oak & Woodland
Gross internal floor area 175m²
Type of contract Design and Build
Total cost £360,000

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