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kings college school, Wimbledon, Hopkins Architects

Musical trio at King’s College School in Wimbledon


Wimbledon is a district southwest of central London that is mainly associated with the annual Tennis Championships. But it is not only in sports that it has a long tradition, since it is also the home of King’s College School, one of the oldest of its kind in the whole of Great Britain and featuring a junior school that goes back to the early 20th century. Over the course of time the campus has gained various buildings. The Music School designed by Hopkins Architects for the Junior School is the latest addition.

Idea and volumes
As the school’s principal Mike Taylor says, the aim was to make the Music School feel like a campus within a campus. Three volumes positioned on a superordinate planning grid share an access zone set between them. Two of the buildings have a geometrical theme in common, namely their pyramidal shape in massive brick masonry. Triangular segments characterise the roofs, expressing design clarity. The third building, being lower and having a slightly pitched roof set above a horizontal band of windows, makes less of a visual statement. Yet basically all three elements of the ensemble share the same design principles.

Material palette and design
The materials used are to be found in all three buildings. Handmade brick has mainly been deployed for the outer elevations, with accentuated openings that punctuate the massive facades providing the interiors with natural light. The triangular patterning of the tiled roofs is encountered again inside on the acoustic panels, but in the different material of wood.

Organisation of the rooms
Each of the three buildings fulfils a different function. The largest features a concert hall that benefits from the high ceiling; its smaller neighbour houses a chamber music hall and small classrooms, while the final one contains the rest of the rooms, thus keeping disruptions away from the other two buildings. Geometry and massing are thus able to come into their own to best effect.

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