Brentwood Preparatory School

by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture

Client Brentwood School

Awards RIBA East Award 2022

© Anthony Coleman

This project forms part of a 15 year relationship between Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture and Brentwood School that has included the creation of a school reception, a sixth form centre (RIBA Award 2012) and a learning resource centre. This latest project represents a shift in focus to the preparatory school, taking on a landscape of existing structures and spaces, (including the listed Middleton Hall) and adding two significant new buildings to the mix in support of the school’s expansion.

A new, sheltering, spine threads together and brings sense to the disparate collection of buildings, sometimes manifest as a canopy and – beneath the new teaching block – as an arcade. Adopting a classic nine square villa plan, this new teaching building provides a reception to the preparatory school with four generous specialist teaching spaces for science, art, and food technology on each of the upper two floors around a central hall – each with supporting ancillary, circulation and storage spaces cleverly tucked into the plan. This arrangement results in teaching spaces having two aspects, with sophisticated planning providing very good light and an airy, calm character. The teaching block’s sister building provides a multi-purpose hall, with an independent sheltered entrance that allows for community use and for spill out space between the playground and hall.

The materials palette references other buildings on and around the site and each building is beautifully crafted with bold and playful colours and motifs.

The project has paid significant attention to delivering solar responsive design principles, with strategies implemented to minimise summertime thermal gains. There is also significant effort made to implement natural ventilation where possible, with only the teaching accommodation mechanically cooled to reconcile the excessive acoustic loads presented by the nearby road.

Contractor Rooff

Structural Engineer engineersHRW

Environmental / M&E Engineer OR Consulting

Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Stockdale

Internal area 1,843 m2

© Anthony Coleman
© Anthony Coleman
© Anthony Coleman
© Anthony Coleman
© Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture
© Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture
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