The Blencowe Centre, Brambletye School


Brambletye School is an independent prep school set in dramatic parkland close to East Grinstead.

HMY was asked to review the school’s campus and deliver a strategy to develop a scheme for a new building to replace a number of existing timber-clad classrooms that were no longer fit for purpose. A study of the campus was carried out in order to fully understand the workings of the school, and how best to plan the development for the long term.

The Blencowe Centre was completed in 2009 and now forms a modern and sympathetic centrepiece, close to the heart of the original school. The building is arranged in an L-shape around a south-facing courtyard and accessed from either a ramp to the north or steps. The circular stair tower on the corner provides a striking focus for the approach to the school

The relatively steep pitches of the roofs and the banding on the roofs, stone window surrounds and brickwork are all references to the architectural details of the original buildings, creating a connection between old and new and rooting the centre into its surroundings.

With seven classrooms, it is used by up to 130 students and teachers at any given time. Naturally ventilated, well insulated and with computer networks and lighting fitted to modern standards, the centre is a building of its time while also echoing the ethos of the school.

The project was delivered to the specified budget and has met if not exceeded, the client’s expectations. During the whole process HMY established a good working relationship with all parties, including the school’s governors and staff, consultants and contractor.

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Location Brambletye Preparatory School, East Grinstead Awards RIBA Downland Prize (Education) 2010, Sussex Heritage Trust Award 2012, Mid Sussex Design Award 2012
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