Sussex Road School

East was matched with Sussex Road School in Tonbridge through John and Frances Sorrell’s joinedupdesignforschools project. We were asked to work with a client group of ten eight to ten year old students on improving the entrance area of the school. The original Victorian boys and girls entrances had been blocked off and a new shared entrance and head teacher’s office had been added. These felt crammed and unwelcoming for students, staff, parents and visitors.

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In model building sessions we designed a box of tricks, that would be small in footprint, yet able to accommodate a meeting areas, places for children to have a sleepover, a large aquarium for the head teacher, a better staffroom, an outdoor teaching roof terrace classroom, and a secret staircase to the new head teacher’s office.


The children’s imagination was especially sparked off by animal and plant textures, and we developed bamboo and timber screens, aquariums, a vertical garden, and tiger and lion benches that roar when you sit on them, and that fold out to provide the mattresses for sleepovers.

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Client: Sorrell Foundation (joinedupdesignforschools)/Sussex Road School