ERMC Hampshire architects were instructed by East Sussex County Council to develop a design solution for the remodelling and extension of the original Iford & Kingston Primary School building. The aim was to accommodate the increased pupil numbers, taking into consideration the Planners’ requirement for design, the surrounding context and massing.
Great care was taken to ensure a harmonious addition to the local vernacular, scale and styles to complement the surrounding environment. The 4 classrooms and toilets extension on the North part of the site were designed with a lower roof height than the adjacent existing standalone classroom, to avoid detriment to the character of the original building and the sensitivity of the site. Similar arrangements were made on the other small extensions on the site as well, with the hall extension reflecting the existing roof geometry and scale of the building. The Entrance Extension was designed to reflect the design ethos of the other extensions and provides a continuity of character to the site as a whole. The extension also serves to highlight the access point to the building to guide visitors in.
The front facades of the extension have vertical timber cladding finishes in varied widths, which provides a visual distinction and individuality to the existing building which is mainly brickwork, as well as defining the ‘new’ from ‘old’. Using vertical timber cladding is also appropriate in this national park setting which, once the timber becomes weathered, should blend in to the background. The design also sympathised with the already existing library building, which was a recent successful addition to the school.
Overall the work done represents a sympathetic design solution, addressing both local and national planning policies and guidance. The design, appropriate to the surrounding context, provides the extra space the existing school desperately needs. The chosen location for the large extension, as well as material palette on the extensions, was carefully considered to create an attractive, coherent environment for this sensitive setting.