When we went to visit Sussex Road School for the first time in 2003, we were welcomed by a client team made up of ten pupils, aged six to eleven, all dressed in their yellow –brown uniform, adorned with oak leaves. These students, along with teachers, governors and school head have remained directly involved in the process of redevelopment of their school for the next six years.
East designed, part fundraised and oversaw implementation of a new entrance space, as well as six classrooms and associated spaces. The plan of the new building responds to the spaces around its edges, giving each classroom special intimate views and direct access to external spaces. The elevations facing to the residential streets are clad in clay hanging tiles, which the pupils and friends of the school purchased individually.
At the southern elevation, where the classroom is shaded by the existing bank of Chestnuts and Oaks, stained softwood cladding enhances the natural climate of the spaces created. This façade is also planted with fragrant climbers to attract diverse wildlife.
The project was listed top of Building Magazine’s ‘Three of the best’ schools, 2009
Location: Tonbridge, Kent
Client: Kent County Council/Sorrell Foundation
Project status: Completed 2010