The original house was built in 1897-98 and several extensions have been constructed since. This included a new east wing begun in the1930s and extended again in the 1960s. Hawkins\Brown were appointed to develop proposals to replace the whole1930s/1960s east wing with a more suitable and sensitive extension, containing purpose designed staff offices, a large, flexible seminar space and student work spaces over four storeys.
A sensitive response to context was achieved by replicating the rhythms of the existing bays of the house on the south façade, including the chimneys, and extruding it into a contemporary form.
This rhythm is expressed by a wrapping bronze over this extruded shape. The layout of the windows is regular, reflecting the office layout behind. However, some of the projecting bronze window surrounds and are paired to reflect the asymmetry of the original house and aid the whole composition.
The low maintenance bronze cladding will weather throughout its life to a rich dark brown colour, which will complement the tactile texture of the existing Deddington stone and Broseley tiles.
A key part of the brief was to provide a low energy solution for the budget available. The four chimneys act as both structure and ventilation shafts. All offices and shared workspaces within the new building are naturally ventilated using motorised louvres within the façade; the chimneys extract the stale air using the stack effect and are designed as load bearing structure.
The motorised louvres also allow night time cooling enhanced by the provision of thermal mass through exposed insitu concrete soffits. GGFBS (ground granulated blast furnace slag, is used as a cement replacement reducing the carbon load further.
The building project also includes solar water heating, a low energy heating system and a semi-automated lighting system using movement sensors.