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First pictures of Hawkins\Brown's Tonbridge school revamp

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Hawkins\Brown has completed this £4.4 million scheme to replace temporary classrooms at Hilden Grange Preparatory School in Tonbridge

The prefabricated cross-laminated timber buildings are built around outdoor play spaces and include art and science classrooms and a library spread over several floors.

Hawkins\Brown has completed this £4.4 million scheme to replace temporary classrooms at Hilden Grange Preparatory School in Tonbridge

Source: Tim Crocker

Project data

Project: Hilden Grange Preparatory School, Tonbridge, Kent
Client: Alpha Plus Group
Funding: Alpha Plus Group
Construction Value: £4.4 million
Appointment: July 2010
Construction: July 2011- September 2012
Architect: Hawkins\Brown
Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
Landscape Architect: b:d Landscape
Services Engineering: Peter Deer Associates
Project Management: Arcadis
QS: Arcadis
Planning Consultant: Gerald Eve

The architect’s view

The school is located on a steeply sloping site within a conservation area in the market town of Tonbridge in Kent. The original Victorian building is sited on the highest point of the school grounds, commanding impressive views of the Kent Weald.

The new scheme restores views of the surrounding countryside, which had been obscured by the addition of temporary classrooms. It makes an asset of the topography of the site by placing landscape at the heart of the estate. External play spaces and circulation form a central spine with wings of accommodation built from Prefabricated Cross Laminated Timber on either side. 

A sunken centralised dining/assembly hall large enough to accommodate the whole school connects the two wings. Full height curtain wall glazing and doors allow direct access onto external dining areas and outdoor amphitheatre.

Facilities include specialist art and science classrooms and a library which is organised over several floors accommodating different key stages on separate tiers with external learning and play ‘terraces’ tailored to each age group. Colour is used boldly throughout the scheme to denote different key stage areas and to create an attractive environment to inspire learning.

Pupils took occupation of the new facilities at the start of the academic year 2012-13 and the transformative impact has already been acknowledged by teachers of the school.






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