Corde is pleased to announce that our scheme for a new home for Durston House School has been submitted to Ealing Council planning authority.
Durston House is a leading London preparatory school in the heart of Ealing, with a long history and a fine record of preparing boys for senior school and future success. The School currently operates across three separate sites and the proposals will combine the three separate sections of the school on to one site; creating the opportunity to provide new, state-of-the-art facilities and 108 much-needed additional school places within the borough.
From the outset, identifying the best location on the site for the new buildings was extremely important. The design team had to work within numerous important constraints including retaining trees, maintaining as much green open space as possible, ensuring a safe site for the pupils, accommodating community use and minimising impact on the School’s neighbours. Studio Director, Dianna Fletcher, explains that the solution was to separate the key functions into two separate, but linked buildings – a teaching building and an assembly building – which could be placed to create specific external spaces while addressing all the key concerns. The main teaching building, which forms the secure line, is placed at the front of site with the assembly building at right angles; enclosing a new entrance courtyard. There are complementary external spaces to the north for dining and outside learning, and to the west for the early years’ play area.
Our design for the teaching building is defined by two angled wings to the south elevation which break down the apparent massing to embed the building in its surroundings; allow it to tuck into the existing tree belt, and to create internal hub spaces for each part of the school. The main elevation of the proposed teaching building faces south and to prevent classroom overheating has deep reveals to provide shading. The same elevation treatment is followed to the north elevation of the teaching building but without the deep reveals. Other sustainable measures include classroom windows utilising a perforated brick bond in front of louvred and openable window profiles, to allow air to flow behind but conceal these elements and add richness to the elevations. Biodiversity will be enhanced with living roofs, wildlife planting, woodland enhancement and tree succession planting.
The new School can accommodate up to 540 pupils, from 4-13, with a separate pre-prep area, a library, dining and kitchen facilities, specialist teaching space and a new multi-purpose sports hall with indoor courts, a stage and retractable tiered seating. Outside normal school hours, the indoor sporting and performance facilities in the assembly building will be available for use by local groups and societies through a formal community use agreement.
A planning decision is expected in the summer.