The King Alfred School: Sixth Form Centre

Studying in the tree tops: a timber-clad sixth form centre for King Alfred School

It is always an honour when former clients get in touch about new projects. In 2018, The King Alfred School asked us to act as a critical friend on their masterplan, after which they appointed us to design a sixth form centre. More than a decade after we started on the Fives Building, we were delighted to work with the school again.

The existing sixth form social and study spaces were poorly located, did not allow for group study, and did little to create a sense of community. After discussing the school’s ambitions at length, we designed a dedicated sixth form centre that makes use of the footprint of an existing building, providing enough space for up to 120 pupils to work and relax.

The brief for the common room was one large space; a noticeable improvement on the former subdivided room. It is a comfortable and friendly environment, with a kitchenette, tables, sofas and soft seating delineating different zones, and opens onto a terrace. The head of sixth form’s office is adjacent, providing passive supervision and a welcoming open door to those who need it.

The first floor is dedicated to study, with private/semi-quiet study areas, two group rooms, a seminar room, careers office and library. Large windows and a series of rooflights fill the spaces with light, and the use of timber soffits and neutral materials create a calm atmosphere.

The building is clad in Accoya timber, with a pitched roof to reduce the appearance in height, in keeping with the school’s ‘village green’ feel. Pupils have been involved in the interior fit out, which has fostered a sense of ownership and will make it a functional and fun place to be.


ClientKing Alfred School

CompletionMar 2021

Area335 m2

ContractorAquatech Services Ltd

Structural engineerMichael Barclay Partnership

M&E engineerP3r Engineers

LandscapeBradley-Hole Schoenaich


Principle DesignerRobinson Low Francis