Farringtons School is an independent co-educational School for children from Year 3 up to Sixth Form based in Chislehurst. BHM were appointed after a competition to undertake the School’s master plan.
The original school building dates from 1911 and the school has expanded through a series of additional buildings since then.
The layout, and the functionality, of the original school building had been compromised by a number of pragmatic but not ideal refurbishment projects over the years and the School was in a position where much of its accommodation was not being used as originally intended. BHM’s master planning exercise identified shortfalls in the School’s facilities and inefficiencies in the arrangement of the existing accommodation. The master plan generated design solutions to these issues in order to accommodate the existing pupil numbers and provide new facilities to meet the School’s educational responsibilities. It also highlighted their aspirations to enhance certain facilities.
The Masterplan concluded that a number of teaching departments did not have adequate sizes or quantities of classrooms and that not all of the taught subjects were departmentalised.
The most effective way of resolving this was to take a teaching department satisfying all of these criteria out of the main School building and to rehouse it elsewhere on campus in purpose built facilities. This would enable the remaining departments to be rearranged and expanded into the vacated space. The removal of the largest department - Mathematics – was identified as the key.
Concurrently, the Masterplan highlighted that Science teaching facilities were under-provided for and so an extension of the dedicated Science Block to expand these and also rehouse Mathematics was the solution to unlocking the opportunities to reorganise the rest of the main School building and enhancing the facilities for two of the largest and most important teaching departments at the School.
BHM Architects’ analysis also revealed that the ancillary and support accommodation - Science Prep rooms, staff offices, stores, pupil and staff WCs - was outdated and insufficient.
The conculsion was an extension to the existing Science building to extend it at ground floor level and add a new first floor over the entire footprint.
The new first floor extension provides a new Science Laboratory and five classrooms; four dedicated to Maths and the fifth shared with the Science Department. A Mathematics staff office and comms room are also located at this level along with cleaners’ facilities.
The small extension at the southern end contains a new stair and the passenger lift as well as the plant room and a mathematics store at ground floor level and boys’ and girls’ WCs plus a shared accessible and staff WC at first floor level.
Areas of the existing ground floor building were reconfigured and refurbished as a part of the works enabling a larger prep room, a dedicated chemical store and an office for the Science teaching staff.
A second stair was accommodated at the north end of the building within the existing footprint through reconfiguring the existing oversized Physics Classroom.
The final design is a contemporary building, complementing the neighbouring buildings, that is functional as a teaching facility and is also both sustainable and energy efficient.
The construction work commenced in July 2015 and was completed in May 2016.
The start date was determined by the summer holiday being the only period in the school year, long enough – at 8 weeks - when the building is not in use. The works were carefully designed using construction techniques that would allow the removal of the existing roof and southern gable and installation of the first floor plate over these weeks.
When the School returned in September the construction was far enough advanced that they could continue to teach in the building with the works to construct the first floor continuing above them. This negated the need for costly temporary accommodation which would also require further planning permission to be sought.