The London borough of Richmond has approved the reserved matters planning application for a new general teaching building at St Paul’s School, designed by Walters and Cohen.
In December 2012 the architects won an invited competition to design a new teaching building at the Barnes-based school in south-west London. Founded in 1509 by humanist John Colet, St Paul’s is an independent school for boys and is considered to be one of the leading schools in the country.
The new building will replace the current teaching accommodation provided by 1960s CLASP buildings, which are near the end of their lifespan. Consultation with people from all areas of the school community has helped develop the brief and determine what goes into the new building to ensure it is fit for purpose. At more than 9,000 sqm, the building will comprise classrooms, ICT facilities, a library, dining hall, kitchen, administrative offices, a chapel, hall and social spaces, including a generous student space in the triple-height atrium.
The building is arranged in an L-shape; this allows it to connect to the buildings on either side on all levels, and encloses the central green courtyard known as Founder’s Court. Vertical piers set out an irregular rhythm and form an integral part of the sustainable design approach, providing natural ventilation, solar shading and noise attenuation. The relationship with the Thames has played its part in the design too: the building will provide an attractive impression of the school when glimpsed from the Thames path, and the dining hall and library will benefit from views towards the river.
The construction period is phased from early 2015 to make best use of school holidays, thus minimising disruption to the school’s operation and boys’ education.
“It is a pleasure to work with the school. Staff and pupils have been intelligent and enthusiastic participants in the design process, and we are excited to be involved in the creation of a distinguished building on such a beautiful site,” says Walters and Cohen director Michál Cohen.