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    The Henrietta Barnett School


    Extension and refurbishment of an historic school within a sensitive, conservation area setting

    Location:London, United Kingdom
    Size:1,200m2 (new build only)
    Client:The Henrietta Barnett School
    Awards:RIBA Regional Award
    Brick Award, Best Education Building
    BCSE Excellence in Design Award for Teaching and Learning
    BCSE Excellence in Design Award for Heritage

    Originally designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1911, the Grade II* listed Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb, north London, had made many failed previous attempts to win planning permission for a refurbishment and reorganisation.

    Our successful strategy re-evaluated the entire school campus and proposed 1,100sqm of new accommodation in two new buildings. A substantial reduction in massing compared to previous proposals, this approach won the support of planners and heritage societies, enabling the school to finally make long-awaited improvements to better meet the requirements of the curriculum.

    The first phase re-uses the science laboratories in the Lutyens-designed Institute building, reducing the amount of new buildings required elsewhere. The second phase creates a pair of two-storey wings for music, drama, art and design technology teaching spaces. These courtyard buildings reinforce the axiality of the original building composition rather than - as previous schemes had proposed - placing new buildings on open space between the Institute building and Bigwood house to the east.

    The new wings incorporate external, brick-columned arcades topped with upper walkways. These cloister-like elements improve circulation around the site, addressing both the main gardens and sports pitches to the east and the more intimate courtyards to the west. The architectural expression takes cues from the proportion, materiality and roof pitch of the Institute’s existing wings, with two-storey brick piers and modulated blind walls. Classrooms located at upper level benefit from extensive roof lights.

    The central garden has been redesigned with terracing and grading to provide much-improved connections between the two main buildings. The primary sports area has been relocated to one side, allowing the central part to become a natural social focus for the school.