Haberdashers' Aske's School for Boys
Just a short distance from junction 5 on the M1, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School might well be regarded as one of the most successful independent schools on the outskirts of London. Founded in 1690 by Robert Aske, who left £20,000 to set up a hospital and home for “20 elderly men and a school for 20 boys” at Hoxton, London, it took until 1873 for the Foundation to concentrate its endowment on education. Residing briefly in Hampstead in the early part of the twentieth century the boys’ school moved to the current site at Elstree, Hertfordshire in 1961 and currently has just over 1,400 boys.
Much of the accommodation at Elstree was constructed in a system build known as Laingspan which was, then, regarded as an effective, economical and swift construction technique using post-tensioned concrete frame. As with many building techniques promulgated since the Second World War it did not prove to be as long lasting as had been hoped. Wholescale replacement became necessary within 40 years.
Winners of a limited competition BHM were appointed to do this. The challenge was that the science department needed to continue to operate without disruption throughout any construction programme. BHM showed that the construction of a complete temporary science department on a separate site while the entire existing building was demolished and rebuilt on the same site made economic sense, providing the school with its new teaching rooms in the shortest period of time and with the least disruption.
The new department consisting of some 21 laboratories each purpose made for its own separate science as well as geology, geography and a new common room.
BHM continue their association with the School and are currently constructing their new sports centre, all part of the Master Plan that they were responsible for renewing upon their appointment.