Christ’s College Secondary School, Building, Project, Photo, Architect, Design

Christ’s College Secondary School

Education Development in Guildford, Surrey, England, UK – design by DSDHA Architects

22 Jul 2010

Christ’s College School – Award

Christ’s College Secondary School Shortlisted for Stirling Prize

Christ’s College Secondary School
Architects: DSDHA

23 Jun 2009

Royal Opening of DSDHA’s two new Schools in Guildford by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

DSDHA are delighted to announce the formal opening today of Christ’s College Secondary School and Pond Meadow Special Needs School in Guildford by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke was welcomed by pupils, staff and invited guests and given a tour of both Schools. To commemorate his visit, the Theatre within Christ’s College was officially named “The Duke of Edinburgh Theatre”, whilst in Pond Meadow School, the naming of “Prince Philip’s Courtyard” took place.
Both Christ’s College Secondary School and Pond Meadow Special Needs School have been designed to create a new educational campus, along with the existing Guildford Children’s Centre. The project was commissioned by Surrey County Council and the Diocese of Guildford and led by architects DSDHA with the Design and Build Contractor, Wates Construction Ltd.
Pond Meadow School is one of seven projects in the Southeast region to be awarded one of this year’s RIBA Awards.

Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s Executive Member for Schools, Children and Youth Services, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for Prince Philip to commemorate the opening of Pond Meadow and a terrific Royal endorsement of the wonderful environment for learning it provides. The school’s buildings have the ‘wow’ factor and I have no doubt that many people who walk into our school for the first time will continue to say ‘wow’ for a long time. The design, layout and facilities are absolutely amazing and Pond Meadow surely ranks among the best schools in the country.”

Pond Meadow’s Headteacher, David Monk, said: “The building is absolutely stunning. The design principles fit in perfectly with the needs of youngsters who face considerable challenges.”

David Hills, Director, DSDHA, attended the opening of Pond Meadow School and said afterwards: “We are really proud of the building and it is a testament to the Client that we have been able to create a school of architectural merit to support the amazing work which is done at Pond Meadow.”

Pond Meadow Special Needs School

Christ’s College Secondary School
Christ’s College School is a 700-place Church of England secondary school. The previous school building was a sprawling 1970s structure which provided large spaces but lacked coherence and had been the focus of vandalism in recent years. While a new Head and the Board of Governors had improved school performance dramatically, the existing building still made it difficult to create a united school identity.

Christ's College Secondary School
photo © DSDHA

Here, one front door welcomes all pupils, staff and visitors into the central Atrium, creating a strong focus for the school community and embodying a vision of the school as ‘One House’ with spiritual and pastoral values. Faculties benefit from an exceptionally high standard of teaching spaces and facilities, which will assist the College in realising its ambition to become a specialist College for Sports and the Performing Arts. The Sports Hall and Theatre were specified to professional standards and are also used by community groups and specialist clubs in the local area.

Made from long ‘roman’ bricks in a rich semi-glazed tone which relate to the surrounding red-brick buildings, the architecture retains a distinctive individual character. The brick walls are recessed deeply at the windows and inflected with dramatically scaled full height windows placed to frame key views from corridors and towards local landmarks such as the Cathedral.

Christ's College School
photograph © Helen Binet

Christ’s College incorporates a technical innovation that places student wellbeing at the fore. Classroom heat recovery and ventilation systems are built into the façade of the building and, using heat transfer, they create a well-balanced environment for students, allowing fresh air into the classrooms all year round. This heats the building in cooler months whilst ensuring fresh air with controlled ventilation and in summer, excess heat can be rapidly removed from the classroom. These sophisticated units sit within each classroom and obviate the need for a centrally controlled boiler with all the attendant risks associated with having to close the school down in the event of heating failure.

The external “breathing wall” adapts traditional masonry technology to create a dynamic environmental façade which integrates the heat recovery units in the classrooms. The wall is perforated to create a ‘contemporary dovecote’ which allows the air to pass through the brickwork façade.

Since moving into the new building, the sense of community and sense of pride within the School has increased and this has been reflected in the behaviour and attitude of the students.

“[There has been] a huge, huge change in the behaviour of the students, a huge change in the academic proclivity of the students…Our children respect this building, we have no graffiti, we have almost zero litter…The kids have risen to the challenge of the building”
Paul Riley, Senior Assistant Principal, Christ’s College

Christ’s College Secondary School – Design Team

Client Surrey County Council
Architect DSDHA

Primary Consultants
Structural Engineer Adams Kara Taylor
Services Engineer Atelier Ten Ltd
Project Manager Davis Langdon
Cost Manager Davis Langdon
Collaborative Artist Martin Richman
Main Contractor Wates Construction Ltd
Landscape Consultants Townshend Landscape Architects

Secondary Consultants
FF&E Consultant Building Design Partnership
Planning Consultant Alliance Environment & Planning
Acoustic Consultant Sandy Brown Associates
ire Consultant Fire Design Solutions Ltd

Stirling Prize 2010



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Christ’s College Secondary School