Thursday, 22 September 2011

K College Fully Open

K College main entrance & Media and Arts Centre
Today I got the chance to walk around the now fully complete K College in Tonbridge (Kent, Southeast England). If you've not been following my blogs this is a 23,000 sqm College for which I led the design whilst working for Dyer Architects in London - also see earlier post "Award for K College".

K College was built in two construction phases to an extremely tight budget and programme. Phase 1 opened last summer with two thirds of the total build, and Phase 2 (the final piece) is the part that's just been finished. I have to say I am extremely pleased and excited about the result. Whilst this (phase 2) was the smaller part of construction it provides the majority of the most interesting spaces and makes sense of Phase 1 - turning what was a new building that was surprisingly difficult to understand from within it's corridors, into a complete and very legible campus.

The new courtyard which replaces a 5 storey 60's building brings light and volume to the centre of the college and provides what will surely be a well used social heart. This is unlike the majority of internal atrium or "street" based education schemes of recent years as it is outside in the fresh air!! What I like most about this new courtyard space is that by taking advantage of the natural slope of the site we were able to produce three distinct levels or terraces each of individual character. This breaking up of the space helps create a more human scale and provides the opportunity for various activities to take place simultaneously without interfering with each other too much. I think my favourite terrace is the lowest which is adjacent to the main refectory / cafe and main performance venue - here we provided a spill out area for tables and chairs together with a series of 'elephant' steps to sit on. These steps create a natural amphitheater and the idea is that the college can now utilise this space for outside performances when the weather allows.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took from my visit, I'll leave you to make you own opinions..

Lowest Terrace with Elephant Seating & Middle Terrace for reading outside Learning Resource Centre (LRC)

Middle Terrace with view of curved LRC

Lowest Terrace looking towards refectory with cafe breakout

Curved timber cladding on LRC

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. wow Steve - great photos and an amazing design - looks good and looks practical too. Really impressed!