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Bell Phillips bags go-ahead for £3.75m school extension

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Bell Phillips Architects has won planning permission for an extension to a Victorian secondary school in Kent

Councillors at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council approved proposals for the demolition of an old gymnasium and its replacement by a new building at the Skinners School in the north of the town

The £3.75 million replacement structure will house a sixth form centre, the English department and a library.

A report considered by councillors said: ‘The proposal is acceptable in principle and is considered to be an appropriate design response to this site which is a local heritage asset.’

A number of conditions relating to noise were imposed in order to protect local residents.

The new building will allow the expansion of the school from four entry forms to five by September 2019, taking the number of pupils from 878 to 1090.

The double height library will be enclosed by an exposed timber roof structure, which the practice said would be reminiscent of the Old School Hall’s vaulted timber structure.

An entrance lobby will be lit by a large south-facing window.

Expected to start on site in summer 2015, the building is set to complete in 2016.

Bell Phillips Skinners School

Previous story [AJ 06.10.14]

Bell Phillips reveals £3.75m school extension

[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + PROJECT DATA] Bell Phillips Architects has submitted these plans for a new arts and literature building at Skinners’ School in Tunbridge Wells

The 1,355m² three-storey brick building will sit between two of the original Victorian buildings on the site extending the grammar school.

The £3.75million project will contain a new sixth-form centre, English department, and double-height library.

Expected to start on site in summer 2015, the building set to complete in 2016.

Bell Phillips Skinners School

The architect’s view

The design has been developed from a careful assessment of the Arts and Crafts/ Neo Gothic style of the original school buildings, and comprises a design which uses a matching brick with a strong emphasis on verticality and repetition, in a similar manner to the existing buttressed hall. The result is an architecture which is both highly contemporary and respectful of its historic context.

The main elevation of the building fronts on to an existing courtyard starting to define a new quadrangle at the heart of the school. This north elevation has a ground floor cloister leading to the main entrance, beyond which is a three storey entrance lobby which soars up to the roof structure. This whole space will be brightly illuminated via a generous south facing window at high level.

Classrooms have been designed to benefit from natural daylight from both the main elevation and the glazed corridor wall.

The building will be constructed from a concrete frame which will be exposed internally for economy, robustness and to help moderate internal temperatures via the thermal mass. The double height library will be enclosed by an exposed timber roof structure, which will be reminiscent of the Old School Hall’s elegant vaulted timber structure.

Bell Phillips Skinners School

Project data

Type of project school building
Client The Skinners’ School
Status Planning application submitted
Architect Bell Phillips Architects
Structural engineer Built Engineers
Services engineer Hilson Moran
Fire engineer Hilson Moran
Quantity surveyor Gleeds UK
Approved inspector MLM
Funding to be submitted for funding bid January 2015
Start on site date Summer 2015
Completion date Summer 2016
Gross internal floor area 1,355m²
Form of contract and/or procurement traditional
Total cost £3,750,000
Annual predicted CO2 emissions 11.02 kgCO2/m²
Predicted air tightness levels 3 m³/h.m² @ 50 Pa

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Hippity Hoppity abolish private property. Join the coup d'etat of the student council and abolish D.D.F. Heil Alex Smith.

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