In 2010 Walters & Cohen was invited to enter a RIBA-run competition to design a new design and technology building for the Merchant Taylors’ School in Middlesex. The existing department had outgrown its workspace and did not offer suitable supervision, storage, or adequate areas for display. Pupils had won several awards for design and the school were keen to promote this popular subject.
Our proposed D&T building is a simple rectilinear two-storey pavilion linked to the existing art and design block via a common entrance foyer and display area. The plan reflects the process from raw material to product, with a logical progression from noisy, messy areas to workbench areas, quiet design and resource spaces. We focused on showcasing D&T with a welcoming, bold entrance and plenty of display space. Transparency throughout the building allows good supervision and offers pupils a chance to see their peers’ activities.
Discussions with the head of department, technicians and pupils gave us a real insight into the diverse requirements of D&T facilities. The Jury Panel was impressed by our interrogation and understanding of the brief, and liked the elegant colonnaded west elevation and ‘showroom’ link to the art and design building. We were pleased to be shortlisted to the final two practices.