At Ewell Grove, both street-facing and inner façades feature large VELFAC windows inserted into brickwork or scorched timber cladding, and HLM Architect Luke Riggall worked closely with the VELFAC design team to achieve the design intent.
The new buildings demonstrate the versatility of the VELFAC system, allowing architects HLM to echo the detailing of the original 1916 school without compromising performance or quality, and at a competitive price.
‘We knew that composite frames as are durable and versatile making them ideal for school environments,’ says Luke, ‘we particularly wanted to expose the natural timber internal frame as it expresses its rich and authentic materiality within the interior, and complements the other natural materials used in the build.
In terms of design, we also sought to achieve a level of depth in the façade by pushing back the windows - VELFAC composite windows usually sit almost flush against the face, but after exploring different solutions the VELFAC team created windows with bespoke junctions which were manufactured at the VELFAC factory.
This level of design support was an important benefit,’ he adds, ‘as was the detailed information VELFAC provided pre-specification. To our initial surprise we found VELFAC pricing very competitive so were more than happy to use as the benchmark product for the school.’
Built within a conservation area, the VELFAC system supports a design which echoes the existing Arts and Crafts style school. ‘The VELFAC units deliberately reference the matte black framed, six-pane windows which are a major part of the original building, and which feature a decorative brick separation between panes,’ says Luke:
‘By combining individual VELFAC windows we could create similar proportions with a thick vertical mullion while the slim frame is retained at the perimeter. External aluminium frames are finished in matte black, again reflecting the original design, while the clear lacquer finish on the inner timber frame minimises the impact of thicker framed areas while complimenting the natural interior finishes.’
The expansion to Ewell Grove Primary School opened in October 2019, and was shortlisted for the 2018 ‘Project of the Year – Schools’ Award from Education Estates.