Aysgarth School

Aysgarth School is one of the country’s leading private preparatory schools, incorporating a full boarding focused, boys’ Prep School for 8 to 13 year olds, and a Pre-Prep & Nursery for boys and girls aged from 3 to 8.

We undertook a thorough audit of the school campus in order to form a masterplan for its future investment. The conclusion was a phased series of cost effective interventions that would make improvements within a manageable financial projection. These set out to rationalise the function of various teaching departments. In particular, this led to the commissioning of a series of new build infill projects that included a Nursery, a Dining Room extension, Classrooms and a feasibility study for a multi-purpose Sports & Arts Hall.

The new Nursery building comprises two classrooms with a pitch roof form and linking exhibition gallery/breakout space.

The roof is expressed internally with a rising soffit leading to a glazed rooflight at the apex framing views of the sky in each classroom. Full-height windows provide a strong connection to the landscape. The orientation of the spaces towards natural light and air was carefully modelled and make them comfortable and engaging spaces to teach young children. They allow for number of teaching scenarios in the round.

The Dining Room extension unlocked a previously typically Victorian approach to children’s dinner times that had high level windows and hard acoustics. The process of opening the existing spaces allowed for simple benefits such as improved natural daylight and ventilation with a view to the landscape and a more rationalised flow of use.

The Classrooms project provided for four interconnecting spaces that could work singularly or together. Careful attention was taken to achieve the appropriate level of desktop lighting (300lux). This building was future proofed and designed to be able accommodate the construction of another floor of classrooms.

Regarding arts and sports, a feasibility study was undertaken to resolve problems experienced in balancing the needs of both within an existing 80’s ‘multi-purpose’ hall. The conclusion was to refurbish the existing hall as a dedicated Arts space with improved acoustics and technical stage and auditorium facilities. Sports were then to be re-located within a new building. The school is fanatical about cricket and was keen for this hall to be ECB compliant. The realisation of the actual size of such a facility led to the strategy to conceal it as far as practically possible within an existing man-made plateau landscaped from spoil of the Victorian sports grounds.