Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School
- Studios: Architecture
- Client: Kier Construction
- Location: Canterbury, Kent
- Completed: Currently at Planning Stage
- Project value: £20m
Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School, designed by Sir Hugh Wilson, was celebrated in the 1950’s for its Art Deco styling and use of natural daylight. However as with many mid-century buildings, asbestos made up a large part of the construction, and with little or no insulation the buildings were proving increasingly costly to manage and were becoming less and less fit for purpose. In 2014 funding was made available to rebuild a significant part of the school.
Placing the building centrally within the site enables the visual impact of the building to be reduced when viewed from the main road, which was a key planning concern. Additionally, by utilising the site levels and separating the new sports hall building from the main teaching block, the overall bulk and mass of the development is visually reduced.
The location of the new teaching block is partially defined by the location of the existing buildings (which are to remain operational during the first construction phase) and the existing sloped site. The design addresses the level change by setting the sports hall lower than the main teaching block, with covered access between the two buildings.
Working with Kier Construction, the design of the new block makes reference to the legacy of the existing building through its materiality, and by acknowledging the established aesthetic of the existing building through proportion and window patterning. Unusually, one of the key advocates for the new building was Sir Hugh Wilson’s daughter, who vocally supported our design and sympathetic approach.