Dulwich College restores iconic Barry Buildings

The Grade II star-listed Barry Buildings, complete with spire feature, have been refurbished to ensure their continuing glory for years to come

Dulwich College, an independent day and boarding school for boys aged seven to 11, has undergone a major programme of external restoration work, in particular, to the Grade II star-listed Barry Buildings.

The work was carried out in collaboration with Julian Harrap Architects, and the project and development services team at global property consultancy JLL.

The Barry Buildings are the most prominent teaching site at the school, named after architect Charles Barry Jr, and date from 1870 when the school moved to its present site. Barry’s design was admired for its eclectic style at the time and he was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects, with his work at Dulwich College cited alongside other major works.

The external work included the repair and replacement of severely weathered terracotta and stonework at roof level, with like-for-like replacement of many of the original terracotta finials, pinnacles and lattice panels; refurbishment, pointing repairs and cleaning of six of the principal exterior facades; repair and refurbishment of all windows; repairs to the roofs; and cleaning of the Cloister elevations.

Major refurbishment works were also discovered to be essential to the central ‘lantern’ spire feature of the main building, involving significant repairs to its underlying structure, as well as works to renew roofing and timberwork.

Simon Yiend, chief operating officer of Dulwich College, said: “The College has a responsibility to preserve its historic buildings whilst ensuring excellent facilities for future generations of pupils. The work was essential to restore the fabric of the Barry Buildings and ensure their continuing glory for at least another 150 years.

“JLL successfully managed cost constraints whilst managing the programme within a busy school, and were crucial in procuring the work competitively and ensuring close control of a heritage project that was on budget and on time. The project has been a real success, resulting from excellent collaboration of the professional teams with the College’s own team.”

JLL provided project management, contract administration, cost management and CDM services, working alongside Julian Harrap Architects and specialist engineers, The Morton Partnership. A key challenge of the project was to manage the change process linked to the ‘discoverables’, as close inspection of the buildings revealed the true condition of many elements.

It was important that throughout the project, JLL and main contractors, PAYE, were sensitive to the fact that the restoration project was taking place in an active school environment, especially in the middle of the all-important exam season. Considerable efforts were made to reduce the impact of the scaffolding and visual aesthetics, noise and contractor movement.

Helen Gough, lead director, Project and Development Services UK, said: “Working on the Dulwich College campus, an active school site, was an exciting challenge for JLL. 

Our focus over the course of the two-year project, was to help the college achieve its project goal of essential restoration of its rich historical architecture.

“The external restoration of the building provided some unique challenges but through careful management, and selecting the right specialists to partner with, we have been able to deliver the project to the highest standard with limited impact on the day-to-day running of the college. We look forward to working with other schools, on similar projects, in the future.”

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