A masterplan to guide the spatial development of a leading boys school over the next 25 years.
Tonbridge is a highly regarded boarding school in the heart of the town of Tonbridge in Kent. It has a self-contained campus of around 150 acres, and has been rebuilt twice on its current site. The main buildings of the present school were built during the late nineteenth century, and it has been extended considerably since – most recently with improved arts, technology, theatre and sports buildings. Tonbridge prides itself on providing a learning and living environment in which individual students can flourish, and to achieve this required a structured armature around which the existing facilities could be developed and improved. Orms’ masterplan therefore identifies how teaching and learning space can be upgraded across the site, and sets out a vision for how individual functions can be relocated to improve the operation – and reinforce the character and identity – of the school. It takes as a fundamental principle the idea of creating balance across the site to draw the very best from both old and new buildings.
Working closely with academic and management teams, the flexible masterplan provides a base from which the school can make confident, informed decisions about its future development. The plan identifies 25 separate projects, many of which will involve working with a historically sensitive architectural fabric. These have each been individually design tested and costed to allow them to be programmed over the longer term, and include a number of immediate priority projects to improve space in the English and Divinity departments. The largest element of the masterplan will be a new science centre, itself the subject of a mini masterplan by Orms which explored alternatives to a new-build route by retaining and extending the department’s existing facilities.