UK’s first ever building built to ‘multi-comfort’
Partnership with Saint Gobain
The Bartholomew Barn is a multi-purpose sports and drama hall at King’s Hawford junior school. Through a remarkable collaboration with Saint Gobain, we have been able to deliver a building that has set a new bar for sustainable architecture – the Barn is the first building to achieve the ‘Multi Comfort’ standard, a new benchmark pioneered by the multi-national company.
The Barn is a flexible space which can be used for sport, assemblies, drama, music and events, and is a replacement for an outdated and inadequate predecessor. Its design and specification provides excellent levels of daylighting, acoustics, airtightness and heat recovery, all of which have contributed to its Passivhaus certification.
The campus at the School possesses buildings of a variety of architectural styles, from the original Georgian Hawford Lodge through to more modern teaching facilities.
In considering an appropriate architectural response to this context, we drew inspiration from the forms of traditional timber-framed farm barns in Worcestershire. These typically have one large tall central space, with smaller adjuncts for other uses, clustered under a large overhanging roof. The parallels with the requirement of the School’s brief for a tall sports and drama hall, with changing and other smaller ancillary uses adjoining, were clear to us.
Our barn is an abstraction of these presented in a crisp, striking and wholly contemporary aesthetic. The extensive use of timber externally and internally contrasts with the underlying complexity of Saint Gobain’s data monitoring systems and the sustainable technologies and techniques employed in the technical design.
We have been working with the King’s School Worcester for nearly twenty years, masterplanning and delivering projects that include the award-winning Michael Baker Boathouse, School Library and Keyes Building. Working so closely with a client has been a privilege and allowed us to bring a unique and deep understanding to each project, knowing their place in the wider context of the School.
King’s Hawford has a very distinct feeling of a rural community where children feel secure and valued. The Bartholomew Barn sits comfortably within this context and is a national example of a building that places the well-being of its users at the centre of the design process.