St Benedict’s School London 2006–2008

The scheme, like Russian dolls, incorporates an examination hall within an assembly hall, along with a new Chapel, a Music School, Modern Languages department, visitor and pupil entrances. ‘It is a very clear demonstration of how design is, most of all, a matter of thinking. That concentration on the plan gave the architect a focus for ingenious conceptual organisation.’ Stephen Bayley, 2009

Image 1

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    The cloister reflects the school’s Benedictine culture and offers barrier-free access to much of the existing school estate
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    Section through hall and chapel overhead, looking north
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    The new entrance presents visitors with a Benedictine gesture of welcome
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    The north facade reveals the way the building responds to complex changes in level
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    External circulation to classrooms is both economic and invigorating
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    A pupil in the north court seen talking to others on the first floor deck
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    Chapel interior – the structure and skylight symbolise a cross
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    The hall is also used for play rehearsals and performances, concerts, exhibitions, receptions, teaching large groups and fencing practice
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    The naturally lit and ventilated hall employs a hypocaust beneath the floor and coffered structure overhead incorporating opening skylights and acoustic baffles
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    A new central stair links both the cloistered floors with the music school above
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    First floor cloistered circulation with pupil lockers integrated into the walls


  • Appointment: 2006
  • Construction start: 2007
  • Completion: 2008
  • Area: 2197m2
  • Budget: £4.47m
  • Sustainable credentials: 27.kgCO2/m²
  • Form of contract: Traditional
  • Client: St. Benedict's School
  • Contractor: Jerram Falkus
  • Services Engineer: Furness Green


  • Nick Mirchandani and Sharon Wright, ‘Future Schools’, in: Future Schools (2015), p.14
  • Veronica Simpson, ‘A Leap of Faith’, in: FX (April 2011), pp.71–78
  • Lisa Freedman, ‘Essential steps to an informed decision’, in: The Daily Telegraph (12 March 2011), pp.4–5
  • David Bennett, Sustainable Concrete Architecture, RIBA Publishing (2010), pp.210–217
  • Tony Chapman, ‘The Cloisters, St. Benedict’s School’, in: Architecture 09 – RIBA Buildings of the Year (Merrell, December 2009), pp.114–119
  • Kieran Long, ‘The Stirling Prize shortlist represents an identity crisis for British architects’, in: The Architectural Review (October 2009), pp.23–24
  • David Littlefield, ‘St. Benedict’s, West London’, in: Architectural Design: Architectures of the Near Future, Guest-edited by Nic Clear (Wiley, September 2009), pp.114–119
  • ‘Kieran Long’s Alternative Stirling Prize Shortlist’, in: Architects’ Journal (23 July 2009), p.11
  • Ken Allinson, Ken Allinson, London’s Contemporary Architecture 5th Edition (Architectural Press, June 2009), pp.364–365
  • ‘Best Extension, Refurbishment or Remodel of a School’, in: BCSE Industry Awards Booklet (2009)
  • Olivia McDowell, ‘Education Revolution’, in: Specifier (Australia) (May 2009), pp.16–21
  • ‘New from old: transforming secondary schools through refurbishment’, in: CABE (February 2009), p.6
  • Stephen Bayley, ‘Go straight to the top of the class, Mr Henley’, in: The Observer (25 February 2009)
  • ‘Warm welcome for the new development at the heart of school’s educational life’, in: The Universe (9 January 2009), pp.8–11
  • ‘Modern Ecclesiastical School Completes’, in: World Architecture News (, 20 January 2009)
  • Ellis Woodman, ‘Concrete knowledge’, in: Building Design (16 January 2009), pp.8–11
  • Patrick Lynch, ‘School’, in: Architecture Today (January 2009), pp.32–39


  • RIBA Award, 2009
  • BCSE Awards, Best Remodel of a School, 2009
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