The Hermitage Academy is a modernist school building constructed in a pre-fabricated concrete panel CLASP system, which has undergone a number of changes and extensions to accommodate growing student numbers since its completion.


To ease pressure on the daily lunch routine – which can sometimes encompass four sittings – we worked within a constrained site to propose a new extension to include an open refectory of 220m2 with an adjacent WC block of 23m2. The proposal also includes the development of the external areas to the south of the building to offer suitable vehicular and pedestrian access into and around the building.


Understanding the role the school plays in the wider community, a strategy was proposed for direct external access from the refectory extension to the school's front entrance complimented by internal doors closing the hall off from the adjacent spaces of the school. In this way it was anticipated that refectory could play host to a series of out of hours activities, performances or fundraising events by other local organisations of residents associations. 


Recognising the proportional rigour of the existing building the extension seeks to fit in directly with its scale – matching parapet heights around its perimeter. The extension acknowledges the two key roof heights of the existing building and its internal programme is organised accordingly to create a clear hierarchy between the two areas. The main dining hall is designed to tie in with the higher level roof to provide maximum head height and allow light to penetrate as deep as possible into the building plan. The proposed WC block ties in with the lower roof height – designating its use as a service structure.



Hermitage Academy






The material strategy sought to establish a tonal continuity between the existing concrete clad building and the new extension. Accordingly the extension was proposed to be clad in a metal rainscreen cladding designed to match the proportion and rhythm of the existing concrete panels. The primary cladding of hard wearing natural annodized aluminium metal intended to compliment the existing grey palette, but with a brighter and lighter appearance to mark the extension out as a new element. In addition it was envisaged that the reflective character of the metal would reflect shifting hues from the sky and local context to bring a variation to the appearance.


Internally exposed galvanised steel structure and underside of roof deck would continue the theme, offset by acoustic panelling in proportions to match the external cladding. A series of square rooflights aimed to maximise light into the space and adjacent spaces deeper within the building plan, this pattern reflected on the flooring material would further emphasis the gridded setting out of both existing and new. The base of the extension and the external levels and walls were to be constructed from grey brick and tegula block. 

NB Text Only Logo Red
All Logos Grey