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Expedition was invited to work alongside Hopkins Architects to provide new buildings for Bryanston School, a Secondary Boarding School in Blandford Forum, Dorset. The school wished to replace out-dated accommodation and address its current and future demands through the provision of new and extended buildings. The proposed buildings formed a new quadrangle which unify the north of the campus.

The site is located within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the setting of a Grade I listed building and within a Conservation Area. Within this context, the architectural language and choice of materials is paramount. The selection of handmade red bricks with a lime mortar as load-bearing masonry has created a structural challenge. Expedition worked closely with the architect to push these materials to their structural limits in order to achieve an appropriate aesthetic response.

Reflecting the architect’s desire for honest use of structural materials has resulted in designs that feature exposed concrete soffits, bow-string and Vierendeel trusses and Glulam beams, all of which require a careful engineering response.

To minimise disruption to the working school environment, complex phasing is required over several years, involving cycles of decanting, demolition, and construction, coordinated with the school timetable.

The first phase of the project, The Bramhall Building, provides additional teaching space. Initially only one third of this building has been constructed; completion planned for when the school needs even more space.

The new Music School is made up of a teaching block, rehearsal room and separate auditorium. Load bearing masonry walls are used in conjunction with robust in-situ reinforced concrete. Exposed roof trusses carefully detailed, using a combination of steel and timber, span over the large volume required for the auditorium. The triple height space of the auditorium is framed by an in-situ reinforced concrete frame.

At Bryanston School, Expedition has demonstrated its ability to integrate engineering solutions with architectural expression to deliver complex school buildings.

Professional photographs by Anthony Weller.

Andrew Weir

Client: Bryanston School

Architect: Hopkins Architects

Project Value: £16m

Status: Completed 2014

Bryanston School, Dorset