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Lewes Old Grammar School, East Sussex

Liam Russell Architects have been awarded in this year’s Sussex Heritage Awards. The award comes in recognition of the company’s work on Lewes Old Grammar School in East Sussex.

Winning the Building Crafts Award for their works with Hodges and Marten and receiving a Highly Commended in the Public and Community category, Liam Russell from Liam Russell Architects said “we are thrilled to receive an award for what is one of our most beautiful projects. It is great for the team who worked so hard on the design to be recognised”.

The Grammar School project entailed the building of two new classrooms above an existing two-story 1970’s science block. The adjoining building was listed.

To achieve a design solution that was aesthetically pleasing as well as one that could negotiate the planning obstacles, Liam Russell Architects put forward an innovative proposal to use local materials that would blend in with the historic town surroundings.

Two new classrooms were designed using a curved rolled lead roof structure, to reduce the scale of the new classrooms in relation to the adjoining listed building.

Although the project was predominately new-build, the design took into consideration the need to integrate the new classrooms with the building below and to improve the overall appearance of the existing building. The lead work was interspersed with panels of flint and the existing windows were replaced to relate to the new structure. The key design principle agreed with English Heritage, was to wrap the lead cladding and flint panels down to the heads of the ground floor windows.

The curved lead work designed by the practice, was a major feature of the work on the listed building and was crafted by Steve Hodges and his colleague Andrew Green for the award winning company Hodges and Marten.

The Practice has always been hugely proud of the Lewes Old Grammar School project and the ongoing relationship with this historical educational institution. They are very happy that the creativity and beauty of the scheme has been recognised by the Sussex Heritage Trust, who preserve, improve and encourage the appreciation of the architectural and natural heritage of Sussex.

Dr John Godfrey, Chairman of the Sussex Heritage Trust said:

“On a very difficult site, with a limited budget, the architects achieved a commendable result which meets the needs of Lewes Old Grammar School while balancing the stringent requirements of the conservation and planning officers; an innovative and attractive solution.

“The lead cladding is the making of the building (Mead House) which houses the science classrooms and labs. The lead work has been expertly carried out with great attention to detail to give an interesting, modern roof line to what had been an undistinguished 60s building. The ribbed design is attractive and leads strength to the overall appearance.”

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