Kensington Prep School
London

An extensive refurbishment of the existing Victorian and 1960s buildings for the School's "Creating Spaces for Growing Minds" project.

The internal alterations included installing a new lift in the main Victorian building, cutting through the historic timber floors and up into the roof space. Internal walls were removed to make better use of the existing spaces, including opening-up the Caretaker's flat to form a flexible high-tech "Explorer Floor". The existing steel roof trusses have been designed to span between the external walls without taking support from the internal partitions.

A pair of two-storey steel-framed break-out spaces were added onto the East side of the 1960s building, allowing the existing classrooms to expand with retracting glass partitions and creating an eco-greenhouse at 2nd floor. A platform lift built into one of the break-out spaces ensures that the school is fully accessible throughout.

The existing structure was found to be a complex mix of load-bearing masonry and reinforced concrete. The external brickwork, where altered for the new spaces, was re-supported on steel frames, carefully designed to transfer the load back to the original foundations.

Externally, curved concrete retaining walls provide a stepped Amphitheatre-style seating for the pupils, which also serves to channel the rainwater towards the drainage system. This was carefully designed to alleviate an area of the playground that was prone to historical flooding.

Project Information

Client

Girls Day School Trust

Architect

van Heyningen & Haward

Value

£1.4m

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