Reigate Grammar School

New library and sixth form centre - ‘the knot in the bow tie of the school’ - uniting a fragmented site

In 2013 Walters & Cohen won a competition to design a new library and sixth form centre at Reigate Grammar School in Surrey. Founded in 1675, RGS is a co-ed independent school with about 900 pupils, many of whom benefit from the school’s extensive bursaries and scholarship programme.

We first undertook a masterplan and space audit of the school’s existing facilities, which were spread across two sites. At that time, the small parcel of land between them became available and was the ideal site for the new building, which benefitted from a generous grant from the Peter Harrison Foundation.

The new red-brick building reflects the materials, massing and pitched-roof typology of the attractive Victorian school estate. Inside, the library has a wonderfully calm atmosphere. Light filters in from the rooflights at the peak of the building, and bookshelves frame views across the peaceful old churchyard. The acoustic treatment means that independent learning and small group work can take place side by side without fuss. Comfortable furniture and varied work spaces on both floors give pupils more choice of how they would like to study.

The sturdy exposed trusses and sense of openness continue throughout the building, connecting the library with the classrooms and offices either side. On the ground floor, the sixth form centre is a generous, mature space for study, socialising and lunch, and is popular with pupils and staff.

The project received a Reigate Society Civic Award in 2018, a commendation from the Civic Trust Awards in 2019, was shortlisted for a RIBA South East Award and is currently shortlisted for the Brick Awards.


2018The Reigate Society Civic Awards

2019Civic Trust Awards – commendation

2019RIBA South East Awards – shortlisted

2019Brick Awards: Education – shortlisted


ClientReigate Grammar School

Total valueConfidential

CompletionJan 2018

Area1,620 m2

QSHolloway Squire Partnership

Structural engineerAKT II

Building ServicesMax Fordham LLP

LandscapeRummey Design

ContractorBeard Construction

Planning consultantBlue Sky Planning

Project managerHolloway Squire Partnership

AcousticsMax Fordham LLP

LightingMax Fordham LLP

Sustainability consultantEight Associates