NVB Architects have designed a new stand-alone prep school building for Aldenham Prep School in Hertfordshire to help unify disjointed facilities spread across a number of buildings.
Vincent House is a contemporary new building for the school and now accommodates Nursery pupils to Year 6 and includes new teaching facilities, a Learning Support Room, a multi-purpose hall, IT suite, break out spaces and dining facilities.
The brief sought to create a dynamic, healthy and cohesive prep school in order to return the other spaces used for facilities back to the school’s senior school and add new specialist teaching rooms which the school had previously lacked.
NVB has paid special attention to the materiality, colour and daylight whilst ensuring an energy efficient building.
They were also careful to position the new building to minimise the impact on the Greenbelt.
The building uses the slope of the hill to minimise the massing when seen from the countryside whilst presenting a strong gable form to the arriving visitor. The simple courtyard shape contributes to a sense of calm in the landscape while breaking down the visual scale. The double height timber gable is akin to that of local barn typology whilst a brick and zinc palette is designed to age gracefully. Internally CLT soffits improved construction time while adding visual warmth to the spaces. The former prep building has now been replaced with imaginative and outdoor play spaces designed by NVB Landscape architects.
The landscaping was a priority for younger years to explore and enjoy the outdoors and new biodiverse improvements. The form of the building is used to shape a series of different outdoor areas for different age
groups immediately outside their classrooms and moving further out, the landscape becomes more natural, reinforcing the rural nature of the setting.
James McGillivray of NVB Architects said:
“The early learners at Aldenham Prep now have the purpose built home we promised in our competition entry and which delivers the full range of facilities they need to start their learning journey We chose materials for this new school buildings that were efficient yet would weather well with time and sit comfortably with the Greenbelt as a backdrop. Our holistic approach to architecture and landscape generated an exciting outdoor environment from the opportunity created by the need to demolish the existing buildings on the site. The diverse habitat doubles as a rich environment for outdoor play and learning.”
Karl Mahon, bursar of Aldenham School commented:
“Creative, imaginative and utterly professional, NVB Architects have designed a school that has not only delivered on all aspects of our initial design brief but taken it to the next level which has set it apart from the rest. With the all important Wow Factor from the moment you set eyes on the building, it is loved and admired by the entire Aldenham Community.”