In 2012 we were appointed by the Diocese of Westminster to design accommodation for St Richard Reynolds Catholic College, a new through school for pupils aged from 4-18. The proposed site is already home to a listed Edwardian building, so our challenge was to come up with a design that’s sympathetic to its built environment.
Work has begun on the £20m+ project which will eventually provide 210 primary school places, 750 secondary school places and a 300-place sixth form. Additionally, we are creating accommodation on the same site for Strathmore School for children with complex learning difficulties. The project delivery is being phased and linked to each new September intake.
The site for the schools is located within an urban residential area just west of Twickenham town centre and was originally home to a girls’ school until 1977, and then Richmond Adult Community College.
On the site are a number of existing buildings of which a 1907 four-storey locally listed Edwardian school building and a 1960s two-storey flat roofed block are to be retained and incorporated into the new design.
The proposed new accommodation comprises a three-storey building at the centre of the site, wrapped around the rear of the existing Edwardian building; the old and new forming a large courtyard at the school’s heart. Our design encourages social interaction, with the courtyard or Agora (an ancient Greek word meaning ‘assembly area’) providing a place to gather. This will strengthen the school’s community; providing a sense of security, encouraging pupils and staff to engage with each other, in addition to creating a practical events space. The overall design of the school will create a collegiate feel.
Distinctive specialist areas will provide flow around the school and clear zones will be evident. Each Key Stage will have access to all these areas, reinforcing the inclusive nature of the school. Music specialism is at the heart of the proposal, so we have linked these specialist areas directly with the Agora. Our design compliments the dominance of the existing 1907 building, retaining the elegance of the original architecture.
This design programme ensures safe, comfortable and fit for purpose environments for the phased increase in pupil numbers, taking the project through to September 2017 when St Richard Reynolds will be operating with a maximum capacity.