Alice House – Saint Martin’s Girls’ independent School

What we delivered

Using innovative designs to refresh a very tired 1970s building, we created a bold, fun extension for Alice House (nursery to Year 3). We developed a learning centre for science, technology, art and music, as well as a space for staff to prepare and relax. The project also improved the experience of visitors arriving at the building and parents collecting their children.

It was the third project we had supported the school with.

What was the initial brief?

To create an extension for science, technology and art, as well as define the school’s approach and main entrance building, which was felt to be unwelcoming.

How we did it?

We took the school’s initial brief and explored how we could provide the extension, but also enhance the existing spaces and make more use of external areas.

Discovering the school’s objectives, we took the process a step further to look at what else could be achieved.

In order to do this we worked closely with the school to define the aims and budget, which was tight due to other building priorities, as well as test the brief, and explore and reinvent areas of the underperforming existing building.

The design evolved over a series of meetings with the Saint Martin’s Girls’ School head, the head of Alice House, bursar and teachers.

We proposed an alternative use for the existing offices as larger entrance for waiting and informal meetings.

Way-finding was also important in the project to allow the school to create a welcoming feel. Remodelling the internal and external space, while being creative with storage was an important aspect, allowed the school to make the spaces extremely flexible.

The bolder and larger final design incorporates a large canopy for waiting parents alongside a staff preparation area and staffroom.

What the client thought

Nicola Edgar, Saint Martin’s Girls’ School Headteacher, said:

“They listened to our brief and came up with some innovative designs to improve a very tired 1970s building.

Their presentation provided us with several options, and they listened to our feedback and returned with further designs incorporating our comments.”

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