A new cutting edge learning wing with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) centre for an independent school in Harrow. Through a detailed understanding of how the School operates and extensive testing of massing options, a hillside site was chosen that provides views over an open cricket field and Harrow’s centre beyond.
The proposal’s massing is shaped by its educational programme, with a learning wing to the north and circulation and ancillary space to the south. These volumes are shifted past one another to allow more daylight into the floor planes, providing views past one another and mitigating the massing of the proposal. In clustering the teaching space to the north the proposal provides the new classrooms with gentle northern light, preventing glare and offering views across the cricket field.
The proposal takes architectural cues from its Conservation Area context which is predominantly in the Neo-Georgian and Arts and Crafts styles. The western entrance is defined as the primary entrance point through its detailing with its gable end, modelled with an appreciation of the local identity generated by Listed buildings nearby. It is punctured by a number of windows of varying sizes and the generous doorway with arched headed brickwork. This articulation is carried around the ground floor, with intricate detailing setting up a hierarchy of plinth-middle-top on the north and south facades.
On the north elevation fenestration sizing gives a gentle expression to the function of each of the teaching rooms, with large glazed windows and doors provided to the STEAM floor allowing the open-plan teaching space to be used for parent and pupil evenings, educational and local exhibitions and school gatherings. The elevations are further articulated with a limited palette of high-quality materials, primarily comprising of red handmade bricks in keeping with the existing context, red clay peg tiles, Oak door frames and copper window shading cowls.