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STRUCTURE

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Although nominally one project, the extension to Harmeny School breaks down into three main sections: two new stand-alone residences, the size of large domestic houses;

alterations to and refurbishment of part of the original house to form a new residence; and the main school extension providing new classrooms, a music block, sports hall and sundry facilities for servicing the school. In addition to these, a minor problem with the drainage instigated a survey of the whole system which showed that it was in danger of imminent collapse. This led to an enablement contract to replace and upgrade the drainage system before the main contract was let. As the project was to be provided with a short lead-in period, design development was inevitable right up to building warrant submission - and, on a detail level, beyond that point.

The structure of the houses is loadbearing masonry on standard, lightly-reinforced concrete strip foundations, with a solid ground floor, timber suspended first floor and a steel purlin roof carrying profiled sheeting.

The overall simplicity masks the requirement for minor additional structure such as windposts and a ring beam to allow architectural expression in the internal volumes.

The main extension has a braced steel frame with local areas of loadbearing masonry.

This is supported on concrete strip or pad foundations. Originally envisaged as a loadbearing masonry building, the complexity of the shapes involved, and the speed of erection required, led to a change of structural concept to a complete steel frame with masonry infill, with the expression of the steelwork in the cloister and classroom and music room roofs developing a theme already explored in other collaborations between the architect and the engineer. The building forms required a flexibility of approach from both sides and a great deal of understanding!

In all cases, but especially in the case of the sports hall, the exposed steelwork and connections required careful detailing. The floors are of a precast concrete beam and block construction and the roofs formed with steel cold-rolled purlins supporting the profiled sheeting.

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