Hornsby House Educational Trust

Lead Architect

James Dinwiddie

Construction Cost

£2 million


Completed November 2010

Site Area / Building Area

3,675sqm / 340sqm

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Mavis Gotto Building extension, Hornsby House School, Balham, London SW12

This complex project involved extending the Mavis Gotto Building (designed by DMA in 2003) on three levels, including extending its striking stainless steel barrel roof.  The original plantroom was moved to basement level to enable a link to be created at ground level between the Mavis Gotto and Lower School buildings. These extensive works were achieved while keeping both buildings and the School fully operational.

The ground floor provides a generous reception area with easy access to other parts of the school.  On the first floor, the new staff room has an external terrace overlooking the playgrounds.  The basement provides additional teaching space opening onto an attractive lightwell.

The lightwell is surrounded by an art installation captured in specialist glass designed by Andrew Moor and artist Graham Rose.  The artwork suggests a landscape of fields, trees and flowers, and reflects sunlight into the basement, creating a light and airy teaching space.

Due to very restricted site conditions, an unusual method of construction was adopted.  The ground floor slab was constructed first, providing good site working area.  Excavations then proceeded below the slab, constructing the basement and erecting the superstructure all at the same time.  This not only reduced structural demands for retaining walls, but also improved the overall construction programme.