Guy Nelson Hall

Warwick School

Project Value:

£6.5 million

Key Points

Substantial refurbishment

New build element

Performance and rehearsal hall facilities

A Transformative Project

Our substantial refurbishment of the Guy Nelson Hall is a transformative project for the historic Warwick School. Founded by Edward the Confessor over 1,100 years ago, the school is the oldest in the country and provides outstanding teaching and pastoral care for boys aged 7-18.

As a practice we have an established pedigree for independent education projects, having worked on numerous award winning masterplans across the country. It was this track record that underpinned our success in an invited design competition to reimagine the Guy Nelson Hall.

Since its construction in the late 1960s it had been used for assemblies, performances, exam and functions. The building was highlighted as out-dated and in need of extensive refurbishment and modernisation, including improving the transparency of its entrance, major landscaping works on the immediate exterior and increasing/improving the range of facilities and accommodation inside.

Our approach was to strip the building back to its structural frame to revitalise and maximise the potential an flexibility of what it might be. We improved the building’s functionality by increasing its kitchen, toilet and cloakroom offering and through the installation of new changing rooms, staff offices and storage spaces. As with all of our education buildings, we ensure that flexibility is built into the design, understanding that changes in teaching methods and technology will have a dramatic impact on how buildings are used in the future.

Highly Sustainable Strategies

The new Guy Nelson Hall now includes a fixed balcony that has increased its maximum capacity to over 1,000. Telescopic theatre seating allows the hall to be used for formal concerts, or when they are stored, dances and banquets. On the first floor performance studios overlook the main foyer, creating a thriving heart to the building. With all these additions we have ensured the increased demand on heating, ventilation and lighting is accounted for using highly sustainable strategies and solutions.

Externally, dramatic nine metre high masonry fins radiate around the building in an organic sweeping form, with glazed screens in-between creating an impressive contrast of solid and void. Landscaping is used to strike a clear separation between student areas and vehicular routes around the site. The approach to the school has been improved by the striking external form of the renewed Guy Nelson Hall and its large piazza.

Our refurbishment has helped to breathe new life into a vital element of the School.