- The Cheltenham Ladies College
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Project Leaders
- Mike Court
Quattro were appointed as Education Architects by the prestigious Cheltenham Ladies’ College following a limited design competition to design a new boarding house, their first new boarding house to be built since the 1980’s.
The brief was to provide high quality accommodation for 66 girls that would exceed the Independent School space standards, on a highly sensitive, constrained site in the Bayshill Character Area within the heart of Cheltenham’s Conservation Area.
The existing site was occupied by a 3 storey 1950’s office building that had no architectural quality to merit its retention. The new building occupies a similar footprint in order to maximise the use of the site while enhancing the overall streetscape of Parabola Road, optimising orientation and reducing impact on surrounding properties.
Early consultation with the Planners and Conservation Department was essential
to achieve planning consent and lead to a contemporary approach that still manages to reflect the traditional values of the college and the local regency vernacular architecture.
Careful consideration was given to the external appearance of the building using a pallet of materials to reflect the classical simplicity of the new building design, and to complement the surroundings.
The elevations echo the past but in a contemporary style, as the projecting central frontage in natural stone was used as a device to break up the roofline and materials; the protruding bay section forms a strong base reinforced through banded rustication with deep joints providing a rich and bold texture. The first floor ‘piano noble’ was emphasised through recesses and tripartite windows arrangement.
The top floor is treated as a separate element in order to reduce the large-scale building; it is set back from the main frontage and constructed in zinc cladding to balance proportions.
The internal layout has been designed around a grand central staircase with a generous foyer and lobby connecting the dining and drawing rooms, to create a strong first impression, a high-quality space filled with daylight and views through to the external spaces beyond.
Research into boarding house trends and preferences from The Cheltenham Ladies’ College influenced the planning of this boarding house. Quattro designed a flexible layout that could be adapted to refurbishment as well as new build projects. This flexible design was subsequently applied to future boarding house projects for the college.
With Sustainable Architecture at the heart of our ethos, Quattro designed this building to be highly sustainable. A fabric first approach included high levels of insulation to the building envelope (above those needed to satisfy building regulations), and thermal mass from the concrete frame.
Overall, the design sensitively responds to the surrounding historic context and is a significant building within the context of The Cheltenham Ladies’ College and the wider Cheltenham built environment.