The Schools at Somerhill

The Schools at Somerhill is a combined pre-prep nursery and girls and boys prep schools located in the Somerhill House estate, a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion situated near Tonbridge, Kent.

The challenge

As part of the school’s expansion programme, Clague were selected to provide architectural services in delivering a new music school building and the extension and refurbishment of the existing science laboratories, with a combined budget of £1.5m.

Our solution

For the music school, a palette of traditional forms and materials was carefully balanced with modern detailing and components. A series of acoustically independent practice rooms provide for individual and small group rehearsals. For the main performance space, an innovative structural solution was employed incorporating oak flitch trusses and tensile steel roof supports, with a fully coordinated lighting scheme creating an inspirational and dynamic space, both visually and acoustically.

The results

The new design incorporates various historic features including original stone window surrounds and ornate timber panelling, along with bright modern fixtures and finishes to produce a series of inspirational learning spaces. A thorough assessment of the school’s practical requirements and aspirations and an understanding of the technical challenges relating to working with existing historic buildings were paramount.

Planning and Listed Building Approval on this sensitive site were successfully achieved. The works were carefully planned to be undertaken within a strict timescale during the summer vacation, and the completed project was successfully delivered on time and within budget.