Roedean refurbishment revealed

Four Victorian boarding houses at Roedean, the independent girls’ school have undergone a makeover

Shoreditch-based architectural practice BuckleyGrayYeoman has refurbished four grade II-listed boarding houses on Roedean’s 45-acre campus on the south coast near Brighton. Originally built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1898, the boarding houses at the independent girls’ school were designed by Sir John Simpson, a former Roedean parent and the architect of the original Wembley stadium who went on to become president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Following the refurbishment, the buildings now accommodate more than 200 bedrooms, with communal areas including prep rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, drawing rooms and hobby rooms.

Each house has its own colour palette of blue, red, green and yellow respectively, and this is played out in the fabric and carpet designs. Furniture and lighting from brands including Ercol, James Burleigh and Innermost have been used alongside William Morris wallpapers, handmade rugs and carpets, art work by former students and, somewhat more quirkily, plywood deer heads.

The transformation of the student bedrooms was a key part of the refurbishment, with most being one- or two-bed rooms and a smaller number three-bed. For these, BuckleyGrayYeoman designed bespoke furniture and fittings with the aim of maximising space in rooms which are used for both sleeping and private study. Here, a neutral colour palette is offset with highlights in the appropriate colour for each house. Electrical, plumbing and heating services have also been overhauled, with the addition of new windows and insulation in the name of increasing energy efficiency within the constraints of the listed building regulations.

Oliver Blond, headmaster of Roedean School, said: “The refurbishment of the boarding houses underlines Roedean’s commitment to the highest pastoral standards, and creates a ‘home from home’ feeling which is so important for those girls for whom school is their home during term-time. It draws the building’s fine heritage and architectural features together with the comfort and welcoming feel of a contemporary home. The new boarding houses have certainly had a very strong and positive impact on the girls, their parents, and staff at Roedean.”

Paul White, director of BuckleyGrayYeoman, added: “The refurbishment of the boarding houses at Roedean is a fantastic project and one that underlines the value of working across the disciplines to keep ahead in architecture. Thanks to the experience we gain from working with our boutique hotel and residential clients, we were ready and able to present Roedean with a vision for the highest standard of accommodation. In terms of layout, materials, detail and finish, the new boarding houses provide Roedean’s girls with an environment familiar to their home lives, whilst meeting all the functional requirements of a working boarding school.”

The refurbishment of the four boarding houses is the first phase in a wider programme of refurbishment at Roedean.

Project team

Client:  Roedean School
Architect:  BuckleyGrayYeoman
Contractor: Barley McNaughton
Contract administrator and quantity surveyor:  Stace LLP
Services and structural engineers: URS Infrastructure & Environment
Planning consultants:  Parker Dann

All pictures copyright Hufton+Crow


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