Colchester | Essex
We were asked by Cognita and Oxford House School, a small private primary school in Colechester, Essex to design a multi-use auditorium: a single, large, flexible room for a mix of uses, including assembly, dining, nursery classes and workshops.
Our first challenge was to find the most suitable location in relationship to this Grade 2 Listed Victorian house and its grounds. Ultimately, we chose a space just to the southwest corner, set back from the main facade and aligning with the garden side of the building. Important was to maximise the amount of internal space, accommodating lunch dining for 70 children as well as an assembly for the whole school.
The relationship to the Victorian house was important. We wanted to ensure the autonomy of the building that is both respectful while clearly distinguishable with its own contemporary character.
The design is deliberately simple. We placed an emphasis on clean lines and geometry with pitched roof set in harmony with the historic building. As the largest single room of the School, it was important for us to have an interior that gives a sense of height and grandure that reflects its use as a place of collective gathering and assembly. The exterior is covered in vertical timber cladding (larch) and the roof in zinc. There are skylights in the roof and large sets of doors and windows to each end.