In summer 2016 Walters & Cohen won an invited design competition at North London Collegiate School (NLCS), an independent school for girls renowned for its academic excellence. The competition sought an architect to design new facilities for art and music, as well as a masterplan for the entire school site.
We worked closely with NLCS to understand their ethos and daily operation, observing the current use of spaces and running workshops with key members of staff. This helped establish a comprehensive brief that was tested through a series of option studies. Our initial ideas sensitively weave new facilities around the beautiful art building and provide views to the charming pond at the heart of the campus.
Several key aims for the masterplan were identified: to improve facilities for learning, create social spaces that engender a sense of community, and to improve the sustainability of the building stock with the aim of becoming a zero carbon school within 35 years. As part of its commitment to develop resilient, creative and self-sufficient young women, the school also has ambitions for innovative new teaching and social spaces; this presents us with an exciting and welcome design challenge and a chance to undertake interdisciplinary research.