The proposal is for a new two-storey laboratory building located on the ground of the 400 years old Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey. The new building has to become a striking landmark to symbolise and celebrate the School’s launch into the future. As well as looking striking and built to endure, the building has fully to serve its function, both now and over the years, and be adaptable to a range of teaching approaches.
The design has to relate to the oldest historical quarters of the campus, resolve existing circulation connecting the old and new zones. The proposed building is also located near one of the access points to the campus thus the design has to encapsulate the spirit of the collage and infuse public decorum into the surroundings. Overall the form and shaping of the building takes its lead from the neo-Gothic architecture; one reads the segmented volumes rather than a uniform, uninterrupted shape. This kind of design is very apparent in the facades of the existing buildings, such as Founder’s Court, where areas of the façade project out then step back, thus apparently dividing the building into singular elements.
Three distinctive volumes hosting the chemistry laboratories are facing onto the playing field while in between the volumes the landscape penetrate into the heart of the new building allowing for views and circulation. The central atrium where the building’s articulation develops, and located to the rear of the laboratories, is accessible through the main entrance off one of the squares. The foyer is the transitional zone between the tall lab blocks and the single storey building that contains offices and ancillary functions to college’s museum.
The laboratories are located in such a way so that they can relate closely to each other. Student and teacher alike will be able to see from one lab to another to be aware of what is going on. As well as promoting communication this will help with the overall feel and liveliness of the building. To enhance communication between different disciplines the scheme allows for a sheltered connection between the laboratories and the science building piercing through the museum block thus allowing for interdisciplinary connections as well as a better integration of the new building into the existing fabric of the campus.
Stone cladding to the elevation treatment takes its inspiration from the surrounding buildings. It is beautiful, durable and it reflects something about the school with its strength, longevity and solidity.
Architect: Belsize Architects
Location: Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey, UK
Type: Design Competition