Charterhouse School

Plans submitted for Creative Arts Centre

15 October 2021

We have submitted plans for the development and extension of the existing Art & Design Technology buildings at Charterhouse School. The project forms part of a campus masterplan which has been developed to support the school’s growth and transition to co-education.

The scheme comprises of an extension providing state-of-the-art studio space alongside a retrofit of the the existing Art and Design Technology buildings. A new glazed link connects all three buildings which will share a new main entrance, dedicated gallery areas and external courtyard.

The new Creative Arts Centre will help to realise the school’s ambition to create a high quality, innovative, cross-departmental and future-focused campus. The extension is designed to be net zero carbon in use through the use of passive design and extensive renewable technologies. Alongside this, an extensive upgrade of the adjacent building envelope and an internal reconfiguration look to futureproof the acclaimed studio building, designed by James Dartford in 1957.

Nestled amongst a number of important heritage assets, the design responds to this setting with a nod to the unique roofscape of the historic campus, characterised by the distinct horizontal banding of clay tiles in red and blue. The proposed façade system is a screen of vertical clay baguette tiles with subtle tonal and colour variation. The tiles envelop the building to create a richly layered and textured skin, through which curated views of the campus are either veiled or revealed.

The massing of the extension serves as an opportunity to transition between the contrasting vertical expression of the wider gothic architectural context and the dominant horizontal datums of the contemporary forms of the existing immediate Art and Design Technology buildings. A glazed link ‘lightly’ connects this new form to the existing buildings.

The building design enables flexibility and adaptability, offering spaces which support different types of learning, including large-scale workshops, collaborative studio environments, specialist skills sessions, self-directed study, informal seminars and exhibitions. The project aims to fuse the creative links between the two departments through a developed brief of shared teaching space based on key overlapping areas of the curriculum: 3D fabrication, Technology and Drawing. Circulation spaces double up as additional gallery space, offering opportunities to showcase the students’ work.

The central outdoor courtyard is designed around both the individual and the collective. There are spaces for solitary moments of reflection and informal social interaction, outdoor lessons and workshops, and seasonal events such as exhibitions.

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