Summary =Bakers of Danbury recently built an extension to the Grade I Listed Westminster School. The extension included two entrance lobbies, a new block of visitor w/c, a presentation/ reception room as well as four new offices and meeting rooms for school staff. Bakers also carried out refurbishment and renovation works to six rooms around the perimeter of the new build extension, as well as the installation of a new stairwell and lift.
Location = Westminster, London
Challenge =Westminster School is the only ancient school in London which still occupies its original site. The site of the new extension is very closely surrounded by Grade I Listed buildings, some dating back to the 11th century. Access was restricted due to working on a live school.
Solution = Phase one involved carefully dismantling the modern concrete music center to protect the archaeology below ground and the listed buildings surrounding the site.
During phase two, Bakers oversaw archaeological excavations,which were carried out in conjunction with Pre-Construct Archaeology. The archaeological excavations uncovered part of the original kitchen to the Monks Abbey dating back to the 11th century.
A section of the new build floor (within the presentation/ reception room) was later covered with cantilevered glass to create a platform from which to view the archaeology below ground level. Close co-ordination between Bakers, the structural steelwork fabricator and the glass floor manufacturer was required because in some parts the glass floor were only 10mm away from the archaeology. Underfloor lighting and temperature control were installed to help preserve the archaeology.
During phase three of the project, Bakers used traditional building techniques and materials to create the new build extension. The extension was constructed with handmade bricks, reclaimed tiles and handmade timber and lead light windows, and it's new lead roof which features an oak oval lantern, with complex lead soffit detail was installed.
External restoration works were carried out to a number of surrounding school buildings together with an internal renovation to six rooms, plant-room and the installation of a new stairwell (with decorative balustrades) and lift. Bakers carried out extensive repointing and cleaning, as well as stone (Burford stone) and brick repair and replacement to the neighbouring Grade I Listed Ashburnham house.
A full M&E package which covered both the new build extension and existing school buildings included a contractor led design disabled platform lift and a Daliv Control Lighting System which enables separate light settings for different parts of one room. The expansion of the plant-room provided a new heating system to the new extension together with an adaption to the existing school heating system. Landscaping was carried out to Little Deans Yard, which lays the front of Westminster School.
The project was overseen by Bakers' Contract Manager Chris Norman. Throughout the project, monthly progress meetings took place with the Client, Ptolemy Dean Architects, Structural Engineers, M&E Consultant, Quantity Surveyor, Chris Norman and other representatives from Bakers of Danbury. The Contract Manager, Chris worked in close collaboration with the Project Quantity Surveyor to monitor the overall contract values, variation costs and the final contract sum.
Less formal weekly meetings with the School Bursar took place with Chris Norman and the Site Manager to maintain communication between the Principal Contractor and Client, also enabling Bakers to organise works around any forthcoming School activities and restrictions. In addition to the Site Manager’s daily inspection of works, Chris Norman held a weekly site meeting with the Site Manager to inspect works, checking quality, health and safety and progress against the project programme.
This project won the Diaphoros Prize at the Architectural Awards 2022 which is held every year by the Georgian Group.