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Prince's Gardens School
London, UK

Embracing a heritage rich environment to provide an inspiring world of education

Broadway Malyan started working with Cognita Schools in August 2018. Cognita is a global chain of over 70 private schools, with 40 in the UK.

For Prince’s Gardens Prep Broadway Malyan's appointment started at Stage 4, with a review of the Stage 3 works prepared by the previous architect. The brief was to deliver the Cognita Purpose “to create an inspiring world of education”.

The new prep school is housed within four, six storey Grade II Listed mid-Victorian townhouses in South Kensington. Whilst acknowledging that the planning and listed building consents were a lengthy process for the client, it was Broadway Malyan's role to deliver the Cognita and Senior Leadership Team’s mission to be the ‘best prep school in London’. Given the constraints of the listed buildings, originally four terraced townhouses, the challenge was embraced to create one School.

The starting point for the design proposals was two-fold; to understand the heritage and the potential of the existing buildings, and to identify the delivery of the curriculum within the constrained flow through the buildings. Movement of pupils and staff around the school was critical as horizontal circulation was in limited locations through the party walls of buildings. Diagrams to illustrate the primary circulation routes and also to the specialist spaces enabled the design team, client and end-users to visualise the paths around the school.

The location of the dining facilities was important to the success of the school day, so a multi-purpose hall at ground level, with a separate dedicated dining hall at the lower ground floor was created. Other uses of the heritage rich spaces was planned appropriately, including the music room, located within the lavishly embellished drawing room with domed ceiling and extensive classical decoration.

Cognita seek to combine academic excellence within a heritage setting; providing a contemporary gravitas to their facilities. The location is enviable, unlike any other school in the country the V&A, Science and Natural History museums are just a five minute walk away; providing the opportunity for flexible learning outside of the School’s demise. This is embodied within the STEAM specialism that the School’s curriculum will offer. Broadway Malyan's proposals also included the provision of science theory and practical spaces, alongside an ‘innovation lab’.

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