EF Language School occupied a large early 20th Century villa on Hills Road that was very unsuitable for use as a school. Our proposal for a new building provides state-of-the-art teaching spaces, improved common room and IT facilities and residential accommodation for up to 90 students. The new school was been designed in two blocks around a central courtyard. Careful planning ensures that the perimeter planting will be maintained and the overall landscape enhanced through additional planting, including a green wall to the east elevation. A total of 20% renewable energy is provided through solar cells on the roofs.
The principal façade has a playful composition, with non-aligning windows and staggered timber panels reflecting the manner in which surrounding trees create shadows. Careful window placement creates a sense of movement and the deep reveals give the building a sculptural quality. The elevations of the residential block are more domestic in scale with larger expanses of brickwork and smaller openings to provide greater privacy to the residents. Simple, robust local materials have been chosen for the external walls. A combination of full-height buff brick and oak panels are held between horizontal bands of reconstituted stone.