Richmond Adult Community College
- Original design
- Morris+Company, 2015
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
Richmond Adult Community College is a centre of excellence for adults, providing learning, training and personal development. As a beacon for adult learning, this project facilitates an accessible, effective teaching environment that’s substantially more sustainable.
Ofsted inspected in May 2015, praising the new facilities as ‘excellent’ as it helped to raise the standard of student work.
Previously located on two separate sites, the redevelopment called for consolidation to produce a more efficient programme for its users. Funds gained from the sale of the Twickenham site contributed to the design and reformation of the Richmond site. Duggan Morris Architects won the commission through an invited competition in October 2011. It consisted of a combination of new build and refurbishment components introducing a new theatre, art and ceramics department, a reception area and a new central cloister as well as general teaching spaces.
Located within the Central Richmond Conservation Area and adjacent to the Kew Foot Road Conservation Area to the north, the area is home to a rich variety of listed buildings that differ in architectural style.
The project was defined by an ambition for a long term process of community engagement, providing greater access, inclusivity and flexibility, upgrading the quality of the site, improving its relationship to the street, and thus creating a building of repute and standing. In order to achieve this vision, within an already heavily developed site, it was imperative to make the college more efficient in terms of spatial use, identifying unused areas and landlocked spaces, and unlocking them.
Where necessary areas were reconfigured or demolished to create better efficiencies on site. This process of unlocking and stripping served a dual purpose, to improve the setting of the original Edwardian building and unify the site with new buildings, extensions and link blocks. This allowed for the reorganization of curriculum hubs bringing compatible uses (such as dance and theatre) together, with shared facilities providing greater spatial efficiency. A language for the new interventions was developed using a palette of steel framing and concrete floors, brick and timber.
The new construction was designed to be immediately obvious and not knitted into the existing fabric. This language was reinforced with new brickwork panels and openings also formed in this simple, slightly brutalist, style. The Queen Charlotte Hall has been recreated and much improved within the original diaphragm wall structures, transformed from the original much larger but impractical hall. The spaces left over were used to form new breakout spaces and classrooms.
The project incorporated extensive refurbishment in many areas. The results were a new 250-capacity studio theatre equipped with dance, music rooms and a recording studio within the Queen Charlotte Hall. A single-storey extension linking the main reception hall with the theatre lobby incorporating an open café space as well as art and design workshops born from an existing gymnasium.
The new buildings are designed to complement and differentiate themselves from the Edwardian facade. The conceptual strategy being a series of interconnected cubic forms which cluster along the Twickenham Road boundary and culminating in the street facing new build element of the Art and Design block. These simple cubic forms have varying mass and height, wrapped in a softly textured brick skin and articulated with oversized picture windows and topped with metallic roof level lanterns.
A courtyard, sits at the centre of the site. This green space is intended to provide a heart to the scheme and provides a transparent connection for several of the key site activities, all accessed from a new clear entrance for staff, learners and the public.
RACC actively promotes sustainability and has worked with the Carbon Trust to reduce its carbon footprint. The heating systems have been up-dated at the Parkshot site and the new build has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating and incorporates recycling and sustainable energy strategies.
"This is a new beginning for us. Our new environment has helped us to offer more to the community and refresh our mission and identity." (Gabrielle Flint – Principal)