Bedales School is set in an area of outstanding naturalbeauty on the edge of the South Downs National Park in the village of Steep near Petersfield. Constructed arounda substantial and beautiful oak tree within a new courtand central lawn the new Art and Design building has astrong sense of place.
The design of the building draws references fromtraditional agricultural buildings with clipped gables and simple standing-seam metal roofs, defining a seriesof connected barn forms. Materials were used in their natural state throughout: a lattice timber screen sheltersthe entrance canopy and external walkway creating a welcoming gesture on approach to the building.
The layout on the upper floor is a series of carefullyscaled open and interconnected north-lit art studios that enable teaching and independent study for a widerange of group sizes and activities. On the ground floor heavier duty craft-based design subjects are taughtalongside jewellery and fashion design.
A connection to the outdoors characterises much ofBedales life, and consequently all circulation is external, across covered decks on both sides of the building thatdouble as places to draw, paint, sculpt or just relax and contemplate the environment.
SUSTAINABILITY Through passive building principles, the new Art andDesign building retains the school’s long and close connection to the countryside.
The form and east-west orientation of the five pitchedroofs of the new Art and Design building define a series of carefully scaled, north-lit studio spaces within. Thismaximises natural daylighting and reduces the need for artificial lighting.
In what is otherwise a lightweight building the thermalmass of exposed concrete surfaces contributes to a morestable internal temperature. Timber-slatted screens andthe retained large oak tree both provide solar shading inthe summer months.Renewable natural materials, including sustainablysourced timber for cladding and wood fibre acousticpanels, reduce the embodied carbon in the construction.
CONTEXT Since its foundation by John Badley in 1893, creativearts education has been at the heart of this liberal and alternative independent school, within the South DownsNational Park, in Hampshire.The new Art & Design building sits in the shadow of a300 year old oak tree, alongside a range of old barnsin which ‘outdoor work’ is taught and students bake bread each week.
“Having benefitted from a high degree of internal and external consultation, our new Art & Design Building stands out as one of the finest buildings in our architecturally rich environment; it is a further reminder of the school’s commitment to creating teaching spaces that are as beautiful as they are useful. The building is a fantastic enhancement to the school’s estate and its design, broad range of art and design facilities and location have created new opportunities for collaborative working and links with the neighbouring Outdoor Work Department in the Barnyard.” KEITH BUDGE HEADMASTER BEDALES SCHOOL
“The new Art & Design Building has allowed students to work much more efficiently when doing fashion design as there is now a place for every facility rather than having to jump around floors and especially set up machines when wanting to use them. It has allowed us to take fashion design much further, working more effectively than ever. The ceilings have a wonderful industrial feel and the windows that face Outdoor Work let in great light, to create really inspirational spaces. The new Art & Design Building is outstanding compared with anything else I have seen before at any other school or college.” OLLY SHINDER SIXTH FORM STUDENT, FASHION DESIGN AND ART BEDALES SCHOOL