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Haileybury and Imperial Service College by Studio E

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The grown-up architecture of Studio E’s accommodation for 120 of Haileybury and Imperial Service College’s female pupils should equip them well for life beyond the school

There were doubtless snorts of outrage from a few Old Haileyburyians when (in 1973) their alma mater resolved to move with the times and admit girls to its sixth form.More than a quarter of a century later, the revolution is complete: Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertford is a fully co-educational school. The first girls in the 11-13 age bracket arrived in autumn 1998 and soon girls will account for more than a third of the school roll of about 600. Integrating females into what has been for nearly two centuries an all-male domain was a response to the growing crisis of the declining number of boy boarders, but it posed a number of problems, both practical and perceptual, which have been addressed in Studio E’s ongoing girls’ boarding houses project.

The first phase of the development (housing 120 pupils in total) was completed and occupied last autumn - phase two is currently on site and should be occupied in autumn 2001.

New boys and girls at Haileybury are known as ‘New Guv’nors’, a throwback to the days when the school functioned, under the auspices of the East India Company, as a training college for colonial administrators. Refounded as a more conventional public school in 1862, Haileybury retains as its focus the imposing quadrangle of buildings designed by William Wilkins, its principal. They have a Portland stone-faced frontage, graced by three Ionic porticoes, and look out over a Repton landscape. Though more austere within, the great quad, with its massive Victorian chapel and (tucked away off a subsidiary court) monumental Herbert Baker dining hall, is the hub of the school.

Later buildings, including the art department and science laboratories, were developed south of the cricket field, with post-war boarding houses, some of them built for sixth form girls, spreading north of the formal drive which leads from the London Road.

Studio E’s first building at Haileybury, the new indoor swimming pool (see AJ 21.5.98), forms part of a huddle of sports facilities beyond the main quad. The brief for the new girls’ boarding houses stipulated that they should be ‘secluded without being remote … with an element of privacy and security while being sufficiently close to the heart of the school to be an integral part of the community’. Half a dozen possible sites were identified and all but one ruled out.

The site chosen for the new development, close to the main gate and Repton’s formal avenue, was the most prominent of those on offer. To the south of the avenue the ground fell away, lessening the impact of the development on the landscape, while the presence of mature trees and ponds - the land once formed part of the headmaster’s extensive private garden - added to the attractions of the site.

Conscious of its sensitivity - the whole of the Haileybury campus lies within the Metropolitan Green Belt - the school and its architects (working with PTP Landscape and Urban Design) sought to build in sympathy with the context, with the retention of existing trees a priority. Andrzej Kuszell of Studio E recalls ‘nine months of planning negotiations which transformed the planners from being cautious and negative to being wholehearted supporters of the scheme’.At the end of this period, planning consent was given with strict conditions on the protection of the landscape features.

Such a ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ site, as Kuszell describes it, could have generated a subjective and over-picturesque approach, though the imperative from the client stressed buildability and economy.

The first phase of the scheme went on site within a week of planning permission finally being issued, in September 1998, and was completed in time for 60 girls to move in a year later. The partnering agreement that brought in contractor Willmott Dixon (which had worked on the swimming pool) as part of the design team, helped streamline the process.

‘What we’ve done is really a group of pavilions in the park, ’ says Andrzej Kuszell, ‘in the tradition of earlier extensions to the school.’ Studio E concedes, however, that the vocabulary of the scheme draws on university buildings by Rick Mather, Richard MacCormac, Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones. Some of Haileybury’s earlier residential blocks are so determinedly informal, with no clear relationship to the landscape, that they end up looking casually suburban. In contrast, the new houses could provide an enhancement to many a university campus.

The diagram of the scheme is strong: each of the two phases consists of a two-storey block of sleeping accommodation - private rooms for older girls, partitioned cubicles for juniors - on a skewed plan which reflects and capitalises on the complexity of the site.

In the completed first phase, the common rooms, which terminate the block, hang over the water of one of the ornamental ponds. The two phases will be connected by an upper walkway.

Linking bridges at this level provides disabled access, although the main point of entry is down a flight of steps. Here, at garden level, the house is linked to the adjacent housemistress’s residence - the house matron has a two-level flat which strategically straddles ground and first floors - and there is another common room, with an attached, timber-slatted terrace or jetty, overlooking the water, as well as a service wing containing plant, storage space, a laundry and a boot room.

After a few years in one of the new houses, girls should feel well equipped to move on to university.

Studio E has produced grown-up architecture, which neither intimidates nor condescends but looks calculated to encourage both a sense of community and some degree of seclusion and privacy.

The school did not want to create ‘a girls’ ghetto’, but one can imagine the residents here relishing the distinctive quality of the space they inhabit.

Externally, the completed house makes use of handmade Sussex brick (the greatest extravagance in the project), render and timber, with gently pitched stainless steel- clad roofs draining into a central gutter - rainwater is discharged via a dramatic shovel-ended pipe into the pond. Escape stairs are strongly detailed in steel. Internal finishes look pristine after a year’s occupation, but are serviceable and solid rather than stylish or special. Furnishings throughout have been specified without reference to the architects and reflect - dare one say it - a feminine touch.

With the scars of construction healed - only one significant tree had to be sacrificed - the first of the houses has settled into its landscape.Additional tree planting has already been put in hand, so that the ethos of a place apart, a sanctum rather than a ghetto, will, in due course, be further enhanced.

Haileybury has proved a good client for Studio E. The first phase of a new technology block designed by the practice, stuffed with computers and other state of the art hardware, has now opened and a second is planned.Kuszell, who worked at the school while a partner with Farmer & Dark, recalls that his first job was to restore the delightful Victorian cricket pavilion, then in serious disrepair.

Cricket remains a popular pastime at Haileybury, as it has been since the heyday of the Empire.This is a school where traditions still matter but, judging by its new architecture, one with a shrewd eye to the future, too.

Built on a sloping site and partially over a pond, the building created a variety of spaces - from the more open communal areas at low level, through to the larger dormitory areas for the junior girls and the single-person study-bedrooms in the top floor.

All these requirements and a number of practical considerations, not least a need to minimise procurement times for the early stage structural elements, dictated the adoption of a variety of structural forms through the height of the building.

The foundation system, consisting of bored-cast in-situ concrete piles with in-situ concrete ground beams, dictated temporary sheet pile retaining walls. At the upper level these were used to retain the adjacent ground while at lower level they provided a temporary bund to give access and construction space for the foundations within the pond. The piles were constructed through fill material of the original landscaping into the underlying London clay.

Permanent retaining walls were also made of in-situ reinforced concrete.

Floor construction at the garden level comprised widespan precast concrete floors spanning over the poor ground conditions to the concrete ground beams. The more cellular nature of the upper floors necessitated a transfer structure at ground floor level. After consideration of a number of alternatives, a structural steel frame supporting profiled metal deck formwork with an in-situ 300mm thick concrete slab was used. The circular hollow section columns are exposed in a number of areas and they are external where adjacent to the pond.

Above ground floor level the two main wings of the building have a more traditional load-bearing masonry construction with steelwork for large-span openings. The second floor is constructed utilising an Omnia precast concrete floor system with in-situ concrete topping for the two main wings, together with shuttered reinforced concrete in areas with more complex geometry.

The shallow mono-pitch roofs were formed with prefabricated trussed rafter elements to allow rapid installation.

The completed building has a complex geometry, dictated both by the site and its use. With much of the structure exposed, detail and quality are important from the start. Working with an established team of client, consultants and contractor aids this process. With the same team working on the second phase of the project, the structural configuration has remained essentially the same, with the lessons learnt on phase one adding value to phase two.

Stephen Bandy, Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Costs Costs based on final account and includes client fixture and fittings.


£163.58/m 2 Reduced level excavation, temporary sheet piling to sloping site. 600mm diameter piled foundations, 1012m long RC ground beams, supporting 20mm thick precast concrete planks. Part 300mm thick groundbearing slab. Part 300mm thick reinforced concrete retaining walls.


£52.57/m 2Part-reinforced concrete, part structural steel.


£64.59/m 2 Combination of 200mm thick in-situ concrete, 100mm thick Omnia precast concrete units with 100mm thick concrete screed topping and 150mm thick in-situ concrete on permanent formwork.

ROOF £94.95/m 2 Concrete roof at terrace level. Generally terne coated stainless steel on plywood on timber trusses with single-ply membrane central gutter. Trespa and aluminium eaves and fascia cladding. Centre roof gutter on student accommodation discharges via single feature downpipe into pond. Secret gutter and down pipes to housemistress’ accommodation.

STAIRCASES £37.03/m 2Staircases to staff accommodation - softwood, painted and carpeted. Staircases to student accommodation - steel, painted, open riser, carpeted treads, hardwood stained handrails.


£33.61/m 2Double-glazed, polyester powder-coated aluminium.


£12.47/m 2Double-glazed, polyester powder-coated aluminium


£39.61/m 2140mm thick and 100mm thick loadbearing blockwork. Amwell solid laminate wc and shower cubicles and back panels.

INTERNAL DOORS £22.44/m 2Semi-solid core flush doors, plywood faced for painting. Softwood linings and architraves, painted.

INTERNAL FINISHES WALL FINISHES £63.42/m 2Generally plasterboard dry lining, painted softwood, painted dado rail and skirtings. Wet areas - ceramic tiling on waterproof render. Plantrooms and ‘dirty’ areas - emulsion paint on fair faced blockwork.

FLOOR FINISHES £53.29/m 2Carpet generally, resin screed and ceramic tiling to wet areas. Timber flooring to kitchenettes. Vinyl sheet flooring to ‘dirty’ areas CEILING FINISHES £27.98/m 2Plasterand textured plaster, painted


£84.98/m 2Purpose-built maple-veneered furniture in bed study rooms. Racking and benches to boot rooms, worktops for laundry, kitchen units, worktops, hobs and fridges to kitchenettes, fitted kitchen and bedrooms to house mistress accommodation.


£14.47/m 2 White vitreous china wcs, wash hand basins and shower trays. Pressed steel baths. Stainless steel kitchen and cleaner sinks. Chrome-plated taps and wastes and individual thermostatic shower mixers.

DISPOSAL INSTALLATIONS £60.31/m 2UPVC and cast iron above ground drainage installations, vitrified clay underground drainage with concrete rectangular sections manholes and UPVC inspection chambers.

WATER INSTALLATIONS £32.79/m 2GRP cold water storage tanks, variable speed pressure booster set, hot water circulation loop, unvented hot water storage, polybutylene pipework, separate hot water systems for separate users.


£51.15/m2 LTHW heating system incorporating wall-hung balanced flue boilers with temperature compensation, variable speed circulation pumps, pressed steel radiators with thermostatic radiator valves. Separate systems for separate users.


£68.24/m2 Moulded case distribution board serving local distribution.White plastic accessories.Miniature and linear florescent lighting with self-contained emergency luminaries.


£9.74/m 2Eight-person electrically operated hydraulic serving ground and two upper floors.


£17.73/m 2Fully addressable multi zone fire alarm system wired in MICC cable. Lightning protection system.


£8.45/m 2Door alarm system to all external doors, data and telephone points, door entry system, class change bells, TV/satellite installation.


£17.53/m 2 Plinths for all mechanical plant, chases and holes in floors and walls for services


£330.10/m 2Standard contractors preliminaries for a 14-month project. Specialist haul road.

EXTERNAL WORKS LANDSCAPING, ANCILLARY BUILDINGS £179.83/m 2Hard and soft landscaping; epoxy-painted brick-built, stainless steel-roofed and cedar-boarded bin store; epoxy-painted steel and timber decked bridge; steel balustrading to terraced areas; timber garden fencing; steel framed, timber decked walkway; concrete ringed granular filled tree pits; green roof construction to terrace roof; reconstructed granite block retaining walls and steps.


Cost summary Cost per m2 Per cent (£) of total

SUBSTRUCTURE 163.58 10.60


Frame 52.57 3.41

Upper floors 64.59 4.19

Roof 94.95 6.15

Staircases 37.03 2.40

External walls 182.33 11.81

Windows 33.61 2.18

External doors 12.47 0.81

Internal walls and partitions 39.61 2.57

Internal doors 22.44 1.45

Group element total 539.60 34.97


Wall finishes 63.42 4.11

Floor finishes 53.29 3.45

Ceiling finishes 27.98 1.81

Group element total 144.69 9.37



Sanitary appliances 14.47 0.94

Disposal installations 60.31 3.91

Water installations 32.79 2.13

Space heating/air treatment 51.15 3.31

Electrical services 68.24 4.42

Lift and conveyor installations 9.74 0.63

Protective installations 17.73 1.15

Communication installations 8.45 0.55

Builders’work in connection 17.53 1.14

Group element total 280.41 18.18

PRELIMINARIES 330.10 21.38

TOTAL 1543.36 100.00

Costs supplied by the Spicer Partnership.


Studio E www.studioe.co.uk

Dewhurst Macfarlane www.dewmac.com

Max Fordham Associates www.mfp.co.uk



May 1998


14 September 1998


55 weeks


1723 m2


Two stage tender


NEC 2nd Edition, Option D - Target Contract with Bill of Quantities


Haileybury and Imperial Service College


Studio E Architects: Andrzej Kuszell, Garry Stewart, Richard Ager, Karen Compton-James, Kasia SkorkowskaWilton, Jason Wren


Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners

SERVICES ENGINEER Max Fordham Associates


PTP Landscape and Urban Design


Spicer Partnership


Willmott Dixon Construction (Eastern Region)


sheet piling Sheet Piling UK; driven cased piles Expanded Piling; substructure Knight Contracts; steel frame DGT Fabrications; PCC planks Creagh Concrete Products; concrete frame Profor; composite metal decking Composite profiles; brickwork R F Balding; mechanical installation Swift Engineering; electrical installation Wilton Electrics; windows/curtain wallingFormes Alutek; single ply membrane roofing Delomac; standing seam roofing Kelsey Roofing; green roof M&J Flat Roffing; lift installation City Lifts; metal staricases and balustrades Berkshire Metal Fabrications; aluminium pressings S&G Aluminium; carpentry and joinery R Kitchener;plastering/screeds/drylini ng Excel Plastering; MF ceilings MN Interiors; fire protection IMS; cubicle partions Amwell Laminates; Altro ScreedResitek; ceramic tilingJust Tiling; paintingLockhart Decorating; floor finishes J&M Flooring; pumping chamber Pimms Pumps; external works/drainageF Keogh

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