site, while also making sure each had its own distinct character. The listed buildings were “an important consideration,” Davies says, which “informed the strategic layout of the site.” The extensively-glazed single-storey swimming pool hall was designed with a green roof that slopes down to meet the orchard of the Grade II* listed Southside House. On the other side, the sports hall also sits alongside the garden of the Grade II listed Gothic Lodge, and the practice were therefore “determined to mitigate the large mass of the sports hall and potential overshadowing,” Davies explains. There’s also an underground stream running through the site – essential for the various gardens, so they were also careful not to disturb that by setting the building too low in the ground. “It was a balancing act,” Davies says. “We treated each facility as a separate mass.”

“Increasing the visibility of the sports in the complex means people are more likely to participate”

Form & design

One of the first challenges for the practice to address was the level changes across the site – both in terms of what was appropriate for the new elements, and also how to fix the problems in the current buildings. The existing layout was “awkward,” says Davies, with facilities accessed via “a series of complicated level changes,” with some below ground level. It was a design priority to make all areas easily accessible and create a better flow, which included deciding which level was the ideal one to use as a baseline. The new entrance path to the main reception is now the point of access for the members of the King’s Club, while school students can access the facilities from the other side of the pavilion. A double-sided lift was also installed alongside a new staircase to allow easy access to the various levels internally.

As well as access for the public and students, they also needed to consider access for fire tenders and pool maintenance – both of which needed to navigate away from the main road, through constrained spaces. “We had to find a resolution that would suit all the different requirements,” Davies says.

Another key focus for the practice was to achieve the balance between ensuring the buildings blended into the existing


The existing squash courts and sports hall – which remained mostly untouched – were absorbed within the colonnaded lobby. There was some minor modification to the building frontage in order to accommodate new access, but largely “it was about connecting them,” Davies explains. Absorbing them within the new elements “put a new facade on the existing buildings” without a huge overhaul being required. The colonnades were added to “allow daylight into the spaces that were retained,” says Davies. “The staff rooms and flexible spaces benefit from this.” Externally, the pitches and playing fields are located to the south of the pavilions and are the “primary outdoor space,” says Davies. Previously, the old swimming pool, a rifle range and garden wall were dividing and cluttering the existing playing fields, but what Davies says was the masterplan’s “core strategy” was to make the largest playing field more open, and consolidate the buildings into one area. To the north is the school’s Lodge Garden. Overall, the composition of the pavilions “frames the Lodge Garden, allowing it to become part of a hierarchy of outdoor spaces enriching the school grounds.” The garden was created in the space between the new buildings and existing Lodge, strengthening the relationship between the two volumes. “The garden space works with the colonnade,” says Davies. “The setting and nature helps knit everything together.”


One of the more challenging aspects to design was the swimming pool, Davies

ADF MAY 2021

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