St Swithun's School

Charming modern junior school with inspiring views of the Hampshire Downs

In 2012 Walters & Cohen won a competition to design new junior school accommodation for St Swithun’s, an independent day and boarding school in Winchester.

The senior school is housed in handsome 1930s red brick buildings that are fit-for-purpose and well used. The junior school had developed in an ad hoc fashion and was in need of new buildings that could better support the school's education ambitions.

During the design process we studied the original 1930s masterplan and engaged with the school community and representatives from Winchester City Council and the South Downs National Park. Our design responds well to planning expectations and fulfils the school’s desire to engage with its wider landscape.

The main two-storey building accommodates classrooms, reception and admin offices; its horseshoe shape means that all classrooms look out onto the surrounding fields. The generous heart space looks onto a courtyard play area and includes a large amphitheatre stair, underneath which sits a cosy reading nook. Linked to this building are the new 600-seat hall and gym. The double-height hall has a warm timber lining and diagrid ceiling, which contribute to the excellent acoustics and quality of the space. Bleacher seating provides flexibility of use, and, in a muted blue, complements the simple elegance expressed in the architecture.

The red brick façade is sympathetic to the 1930s buildings, while the location and massing minimise impact on the landscape. In May 2016 the official opening included enthusiastic tours by the pupils, a dedication by the Bishop of Winchester, and a cake in the shape of the building!

Details

ClientSt Swithun's School

Total value£8.8m

CompletionMarch 2016

QSSynergy

StructureMichael Barclay Partnership

Building ServicesMax Fordham LLP

LandscapeGrant Associates

Planning consultantTerence O'Rourke

Project managerSynergy

ContractorFeltham Construction