Aisher House, Sevenoaks School
by Tim Ronalds Architects
Client Sevenoaks School Foundation
Awards RIBA South East Award 2022 and RIBA National Award 2022 (sponsored by Forterra)
The new boarding house for boys at Sevenoaks School combines a skilful response to a complex brief with a confident piece of placemaking.
The site for the new building is the front lawn of Park Grange, a listed Victorian villa at the southern end of Sevenoaks High Street. The architects have demonstrated a sophisticated and intuitive understanding of this setting. The new building is split into three pavilions, echoing the form of the listed villa, and placed so as to complement it in scale. To echo the Victorian villa’s materials without resorting to pastiche, bespoke ceramic tiles were developed for the new building’s façade. These are an unusual T-shape to allow a hit-and-miss appearance - giving a cadence of light and shade similar to that of the villa’s stone walls.
A boarding house such as this has very particular requirements, catering for boys across a range of ages, and requiring cooking, laundry and other ‘home-from-home’ facilities in addition to bedrooms and bathrooms. These are all spacious and comfortable, and crucially are linked together by generous social and communal spaces, the latter occupying most of the ground floor. These in turn open out to a courtyard BBQ area outside the house kitchen and the common room opens onto the main lawn for events and games. Adding to the complexity, staff also live in the building, and the design cleverly allows their ‘houses’ to feel independent, with their own separate entrances.
The boarding house seeks to use sustainable approaches too: the structure is of CLT, on a thin concrete raft, which minimises embodied carbon: the house is all electric, has MVHR ventilation systems and its heat comes from an air source heat pump installation.
Internal area 2,367.00 m²
Structural Engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan
Environmental / M&E Engineer Max Fordham
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Bristow Consulting
Landscape Architects Wirtz International
Acoustic Engineers Max Fordham