Whitecliffs Primary

When White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts in Dover required a new extension – its design needed to be sympathetic to the existing building’s current surroundings as it sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Due to extensive experience in sensitive design and education facilities, Clague was appointed as the project’s architects by consultants Faithful & Gould, on behalf of Kent County Council. Clague’s proposals had to also take into account the school’s location within a Local Wildlife Site. The extension offers six new classrooms, private ground floor nursery, kitchen, and school hall. The landscape was incorporated into the designs, as was a lift providing disabled access. Brickwork matching the vernacular of the existing building was used on the ground floor and the Siberian Larch cladding on the second storey will weather grey and reduce its impact on the AONB. The chalk roof will become a living roof, increasing the biodiversity of the area and encouraging native species.

We were appointed by programme management consultants Faithful & Gould, on behalf of Kent County Council, to prepare and present a number of options for the expansion of White Cliffs Primary School.

Funded through the government’s Basic Needs programme, the proposals were subject to tight budgetary restrictions.

A major consideration for the design proposals was the school’s location, with the current building sitting within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Local Wildlife Site. And with the school situated on a hillside and above a valley, flat space for play areas is at a premium. Our proposals had to expand the school without losing any outside recreational space, while at the same time being sympathetic to the surrounding area.

The completed extension offers six new classrooms, a private ground floor nursery, kitchen, and school hall extension.

We designed the new building with facing brickwork on the ground floor to match the existing one-storey school. The Siberian Larch cladding on the second floor will weather to a silver grey, thereby reducing the visual impact on the AONB. The chalk roof will be planted on and become a living roof, increasing the biodiversity of the area and encouraging native species.

It was a challenging site and the building’s success is testament to the hard work of the team in incorporating the landscape into the design rather than battling against it.