Devon Studio School

Torquay

Devon Studio School is a new specialist school built in a collection of redundant Victorian buildings within the Torbay Hospital Annexe campus.

LHC’s architectural and interior design teams breathed exciting new life into the mothballed hospital buildings. They were sensitively restored and linked together into a legible whole by simple, modern structures – with large, vibrant new-build spaces and dramatic interventions added.

Service

Architecture, Interiors

Sector

Education, Refurbishment

Value

£2.3 million

Area

1930 sq m

Completed

August 2014

With the Devon Studio School, LHC aimed to provide a high-quality education facility in which the new school could flourish on the original 1882 hospital site, reusing a collection redundant buildings and bringing them together to be much more than the sum of their parts. It aimed to unify with crisp, contemporary architectural interventions, giving tired buildings a dynamic new use and a sustainable future. The whole project aimed to provide a catalyst for regeneration, both socially, educationally and in the built environment.

Staff and students were involved throughout the design and build phases of the School.  This true ownership of the project has created an environment where staff want to work and students want to learn. We are extremely proud of our environment and love the juxtaposition of old and new that people question and which gives us opportunity to explain the history of the building.
Kate Davis Wallis, Headteacher

The buildings on site, although attractive and potentially useful, were a disconnected muddle, which had evolved over time.

A single-storey building was chosen as the new school entrance. A dramatic intervention here sees a double height metal clad entrance structure dissect this original building. This crisp, angular structure projects beyond the front of the existing building line and above the roof level, relating in scale to the two-storey eaves height of the main building behind. It defines the entrance and provides a lofty, well-lit reception.

The old, two-storey brick hospital was cleaned, repaired, insulated and upgraded with more efficient services installations. This building houses the smaller classroom spaces, toilets, staff room and meeting rooms. Across the rear elevation, later poor-quality extensions were demolished to make way for a new two-storey extension. This simple, contemporary box links to the existing building under the eaves with a transition section, then steps up to provide larger teaching areas, laboratories and a refectory. The crisp style and simple lines contrast with the historic surroundings.

LHC has succeeded in bringing together a disparate collection of Victorian and early 20th century brick buildings; sensitively refurbishing them; linking them together into a legible whole with simple, subservient structures; adding vibrant and vital new spaces, and finally adding dramatic, contemporary additions provide a hint of something new.

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