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Victorian townhouses transformed into inspiring world of education
4th June 2021

Broadway Malyan has completed a project to create a new state of the art preparatory school in west London.

Working with leading education provider Cognita, Broadway Malyan transformed four Grade II listed six storey mid-Victorian townhouses to create Prince's Gardens Preparatory School in South Kensington.

The project presented a range of challenges with a brief to develop a state-of-the-art educational facility, while preserving the historical integrity of these important community landmarks.

The layout of the townhouses, heritage constraints and position of the party walls across the buildings meant there were significant restrictions and space limitations, which could have affected Cognita’s ability to deliver their curriculum across the four buildings.

In response to this, Broadway Malyan designed new primary circulation routes and specialist meeting areas in the school, to allow staff, students and visitors to move around unrestricted.

One of the most significant challenges was the location of the dining facilities, an integral part to the success of any school day. Broadway Malyan proposed to create a multi-purpose hall at the ground level of the townhouses, with dedicated dining halls at the lower ground floor. This enabled them to make better use of the site’s rich heritage spaces to encourage and nurture creativity within these unique and dedicated spaces for teaching and learning.

In undertaking this project, Cognita’s ambition was to create a centre of academic excellence, that was focused on their STEAM curriculum. To this end, dedicated science theory and practical spaces have been included in the school, plus the ‘makerspace’, a cutting-edge learning zone where students can collaborate and develop creative projects using the latest and traditional technologies, from programmable robots to invention kits.

With the school a short walk from the Victorian & Albert, Science and Natural History Museums, Broadway Malyan wanted to ensure the school could take advantage of its central London location. The design maximised opportunities for flexible learning outside with a connection to the secure play-space from all the rear ground floor classrooms and a pathway to the amazing, hidden, 2-acre garden.

Headmistress Alison Melrose said: "Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School represents an innovative centre for excellence, where our students will be able to learn, grow and pursue interests across the curriculum from creative writing and music to science and technology.

"The initial undertaking represented a significant challenge; however, the final designs represent an architectural marvel, creating a modern educational facility while respecting the historical merit of the Grade II Listed Victorian townhouses. We look forward to welcoming new and old faces to the school for many years to come."

A Broadway Malyan spokesperson added: "This was a uniquely challenging project with a wide range of obstacles that needed to be overcome to deliver the ambitious brief.

"Following our appointment in 2018, we had to adapt the old designs for the school to develop a high-quality space that would allow Cognita to deliver their world-class curriculum, but also sought to preserve the historical integrity of the townhouses. The finished product is one that I, and the team, are proud to have been part of."

“We had to adapt the old designs for the school to develop a high-quality space that would allow Cognita to deliver their world-class curriculum, but also sought to preserve the historical integrity of the townhouses”
Spokesperson, Broadway Malyan