The Abbey School is an independent selective day school in Reading, Berkshire and provides education for girls aged 3 to 18 years. Based on the junction of Christchurch Road, a green and leafy area in the centre of the city, the school has offered a liberal, practical and general education to girls for over 130 years. The educational ethos fosters an environment that offers pupils an outstanding, challenging and fulfilling education through effective leadership, innovation and reform. The existing school site faced several issues where access to the school was problematic and hazardous for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The Victorian two-storey building and 1970’s extensions required a modern redesign to enhance circulation routes, improve accessibility, create additional learning space and improve the visual appearance which would bolster the public image and reputation of the school. Creatively, the works also needed to be in keeping with the original style and features of the architecture in the surrounding area. The decorative diamond-shaped brickwork was meticulously placed to reflect the style of the architect who designed the building opposite the school.
Due to the extent of the proposed works, it was necessary for construction work to continue immediately when the school was open during term time. The design team worked closely with the school to develop a detailed phasing plan prior to the works commencing. A collaborative team-based approach thereafter ensured that the project was delivered without interruption or disruption to the school’s operation.
Elsewhere on the site, the project faced several other challenges whereby route protection zones and tree preservation orders were in place which required an innovative design solution to eliminate the need for a new boundary wall. Helical piles were used in combination with bespoke steelwork to form a foundation to the perimeter of the site whilst avoiding disruption to the tree roots.
Kendall Kingscott Ltd. were appointed as Lead Consultant, Architect, Quantity Surveyor and Principal Designer on this challenging project that successfully delivered the relocation of the main school entrance, a 2-storey extension to the front and single-storey extension at the back of the building whilst the school remained operational.