South East Construction Awards shortlist

We are proud to announce that Portal House School has been shortlisted at the South East Construction Awards in the category ‘Best Architectural Design’.

Portal House is a Kent County Council secondary school for pupils with emotional, social and mental health difficulties and is committed to raising pupil’s aspirations in order to achieve the highest levels of academic attainment and personal development in order to improve their life chances and overall welfare.

Our design responded in a number of ways to enhance the environment and this included ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the pupils – the new buildings themselves creating a protective courtyard and safe recreational space. Contextually the new building responds to the historic setting of the village with Portal House itself being a building of historic architectural interest. The original house was retained and refurbished, and a new setting was created with the introduction of the new curriculum areas.

The master plan for the site involves a number of key elements: the existing house (with the later extensions removed), a robust and enveloping ground floor level, the new double pitched classroom block set over the base and the internal courtyard with grass terracing. A simple, textured light brick is used at ground floor level whilst the upper floors are clad in light brown timber rain screen cladding with darker vertical recesses, accented in blue details as the existing house. The proportion and massing are evocative of the studied local vernacular buildings, but we utilised simple and modern details to create a fresh identity for the school.

The existing building was sensitively refurbished, reinstated and repurposed to house a number of teaching and pupil welfare facilities, including the ‘Gold Room’ where pupils are rewarded for good behaviour.  The newly constructed extension provides the new school entrance, staff facilities, teaching spaces and indoor sports hall and completes the landscaped courtyard, which serves to create a safe play area and the daily drop off and pick up area.

KSS have taken a holistic and coordinated approach to the design solution enabling and empowering the pupils with ESMH problems to participate fully in life at school and in the wider community.  Well-designed buildings and pleasant surroundings can lead to better attendance and concentration as well as improved motivation and self-esteem. Portal House is a facilitator of change, increasing student empowerment and trust, preparing them for a future beyond school.

We look forward to the South East Construction Awards at the Event Centre, Ardingly, West Sussex on 26 September 2019.

Published by
Dominic Fleming Marketing Coordinator
Published by
Dominic Fleming Marketing Coordinator

Related articles