The new Hilden Grange Prep School, designed by HawkinsBrown, is a £4.4 million redevelopment of an old Victorian building located Kent, UK. The building is organised around a sunken assembly and dining hall with floor-to-ceiling glass doors which open up towards external dining areas and an outdoor amphitheatre. It achieved a low carbon footprint and a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’.
The school which is run by Alpha Plus Group is reserved for children aged three to thirteen and is located upon a hill within a conservation area on the edge of Tonbridge in Kent. New wings, which include specialist art and science classrooms and a library, were set into the hillside with terraced exterior areas which reconnect the school to the surrounding landscape.
Apart from its sunken part, which had to built from blockwork and concrete, the rest of the school was built entirely from prefabricated cross-laminated timber. This highly efficient method of construction is known for creating well insulated and naturally cooled rooms. It also allowed for most of the components to be manufactured offsite and ensure that the schools stayed open during the renovation.