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Walters and Cohen's Ryde School officially opens

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[FIRST LOOK] Walters and Cohen’s £5.5 million extension and refurbishment of Ryde School on the Isle of Wight has been officially opened

Last week the Earl of Wessex cut the tape on the practice’s Bembridge Building - a new entrance and reception for the school.

The scheme was won in competition in April 2008 and included the existing Grade II-listed Westmont building.

The architect’s view

We were first commissioned to draw up a masterplan for the site, organising facilities to allow the original school building, Westmont, to be used for offices and a sixth form centre, while dining and kitchen facilities were moved into the new building. The masterplan resolves congestion, providing clear way finding and a car-free courtyard in front of Westmont, giving it the respect it deserves.

The new Bembridge Building provides a welcoming, impressive entrance to the school from Queen’s Road, while maintaining views to the listed building. The vision was for a simple and elegant building, a foil to the prominent Grade II listed Westmont building, yet striking and grand in its own right as the first impression of the school. The school’s location in a conservation area was taken into account when discussing design options: the scale, location and materials chosen for the new building are all fitting responses to the surroundings, and the refurbishment of Westmont was sensitive to its listed status. A ‘green roof’ on the new building screens the art terrace courtyard from the surrounding neighbours and provides a pleasant green wall for the adjacent buildings.

The L-shaped building encloses a landscaped, car-free courtyard in front of Westmont. The building draws inspiration from its context, maximising the long views over the Solent and evoking a sense of serenity.

Previous story (AJ 23.11.09)

Ryde School, Isle of Wight by Walters and Cohen

[FIRST LOOK] Walters and Cohen has won permission for this £5.5 million extension and refurbishment of Ryde School on the Isle of Wight

The scheme, won in competition in April 2008, includes a new entrance building to the school (pictured above), a landscaped courtyard and a revamp of the existing Grade II-listed Westmont building.

Cindy Walters, co-founder of Walters and Cohen, commented, “We are very pleased to receive planning permission for a masterplan and new entrance building at Ryde School.

‘We tackled various issues currently on the site – relating to access, safety and security – and maximised key features of the site, such as the views out to the sea, by incorporating an outdoor dining area, a sustainable green roof, as well as extensive landscaping.’ 

Work on site is due to begin in June 2010 and the project is set for completion in September 2011.

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