All photos: ©Tim Crocker 2013

Work has recently completed on a transformational school redevelopment project at Hilden Grange School in Tonbridge.

The Ritblat Building provides new teaching spaces and a nursery as well as specialist science, art and design and learning support areas.  At the heart of the new complex connecting the east and west wings a new multi-use hall is large enough to accommodate the whole school.  The new development is located at the rear of the Victorian School within a Conservation Area opening up previously obscured views towards the Kent Weald.

The intention was to integrate the development with the existing topography and create a vibrant tiered landscape on three diminishing levels that offer play spaces for different year groups in between the school buildings with views over the surrounding fields and Green Belt beyond.

The proposed architectural interventions are predominantly cross laminated timber with cedar shingles, larch cladding with a linear wrap of wildflower green roof to absorb the buildings into the landscape.

Vibrant tiered play surfaces that undulate and morph provide subtle opportunities for external learning and play and create interest from the many aerial vantage points. The Multi Use Games Area was completed by September 2011 with the remainder of the project completed in November 2012.

The planting character of the play terraces is inspired by the majestic trees that surround the site with specimen Scots Pine and Birch trees humanising the terraces providing shelter and shade.  Biodiversity rich native habitat planting helps mitigate the school building impact and maximise BREEAM ecology credits and geotextile reinforced wildflower banks add highlights absorbing the level change between middle and lower terraces.

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