The new building was to occupy the last piece of undeveloped land in the central area of the College. The site was the service yard area in the north-west corner of Memorial Court, a series of courts designed by Giles Gilbert Scott between 1924 and 1950.
The design of the development needed to recognise the importance the site by having due regard to the proximity of Listed Buildings and its location within a Conservation Area and to ensure it conformed to the design policies in Local Plan.
The relocation of uses within the development site needed to be sensitively sited to minimise their visual impact on the listed building and adjacent historic park and garden, and development needed to minimize the impact on the good quality trees.
The specification of brass-treated copper for the roofs initially met with opposition by those who felt that pitched clay tiled roofs would be more sympathetic to neighbouring listed buildings. Our conviction, however, prevailed; this was that the modern building we proposed should have an equally modern roof, with vertical sides clad in copper with standing seams.
The colour of the copper, once weathered, is similar in hue to the neighbouring roofs, and has a touch of restrained glamour that compliments both the neighbouring buildings and the new buildings perfectly.
Two other principal external materials were selected for the new building and landscape. Brick, of a similar colour and texture to the Gilbert Scott buildings is the primary material for the study centre wing. A mix of different grey bricks from the same supplier are used to provide variation and warmth.
The residential wing of the building is clad in untreated cedar to express its more domestic character, and respond to the wooded edge of the northern edge of the site. This is intended to weather down to a silver-grey hue similar to the adjacent brickwork.
The entrance loggia wall and soffit is FSC oak. Windows are aluminium to the study centre and timber/aluminium to the residential wing.
Top photo: Will Pryce
Specialist copper contractor: KME UK
Main contractor: Haymills