Ewell Grove Primary and Nursery School expansion completes

A £4 million development by Surrey County Council to double the capacity of the Ewell Grove Primary and Nursery School, designed by HLM’s London studio, has completed. The OFSTED Outstanding school now caters for up to 459 children.

Located at the centre of Ewell Village Conservation Area in the London Borough of Epsom and Ewell, the project required a highly contextual and sensitive approach. The main building, constructed in 1916, is of special architectural interest due to its distinctive arts and craft period character and sits within close proximity to several grade II listed buildings. The site itself is highly constrained due to an overall area of just 5700 sq m, a significant number of mature trees up to 22m tall, an eaves height restriction of 5.2m on the north boundary and areas of shared access rights.

HLM acted as architect, interior designer and landscape architect for the scheme. Its solution included a new 940 sq m teaching block, which sits prominently on the street frontage and solidifies the junction between the existing school and the neighbouring terrace houses with intersecting gable ends. It provides eight new classrooms for nursery, reception, infant and specialist practical learning as well as staff and learning support spaces. 420 primary school children and 39 at nursery level can now be accommodated.

A new 330 sq m hall and kitchen block takes a different approach, responding to the decorative, well ordered rear façade of the existing building and the area of heavily wooded soft landscaping to the South, with double gable end façades and scorched timber cladding. The existing 1040 sq m building was also refurbished, offering an improved layout and updated finishes, and new landscaping was delivered across the site.

The three buildings combine to create the facilities needed by the school, each with its individual character. The materials include handmade Flemish Bond brick, which references the original 1916 school with tones of earthy red contrasted with bursts of white. Natural blue-grey slates were cut to a bespoke diamond pattern and seamlessly fold over from roof to wall. The proportions of the scorched timber cladding sit in harmony with the period facade it adjoins.

Luke Riggall, Architect at HLM, said:

“This was a difficult scheme which posed many design and planning challenges, but which was desperately needed to meet the demand for school places from the local community. Key to the success of the project was early engagement with statutory consultees, a strategy that overcame the constraints of the site itself, and a responsive design approach that delivered a functional scheme with a sympathetic acknowledgement of people and context. The end result is an exemplar for the education sector when faced with multiple challenges and a need to deliver.”

Project Team

  • HLM: Architect, Landscape Design, Interior Design, Principal Designer
  • WYG: Project Manager, Structural Engineer, Civil Engineer, M&E Engineers, Transport Consultant, Planning Consultant
  • Sunninghill: Contractor