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September 2019 Back to news

Dyson Building steaming ahead

A planning application has now been submitted for a new £19 million STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) building at the Senior School. The proposed building is to be known as the Dyson Building after the benefactor of the project, Sir James Dyson, Old Greshamian and Founder of Dyson. The building will create a contemporary science and arts teaching facility at Gresham’s, incorporating classrooms, laboratories, workshops and flexible-use open plan common areas.  Designed by international award winning architects Wilkinson Eyre, the new building sits at the heart of the school site, adjacent to the award winning music centre, the Britten Building, and facing the Grade II listed Memorial Chapel across the chapel lawns.

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s Headmaster, said: “The new spaces will have an immense impact on the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics education that our students receive, now and for decades to come. We are hugely grateful to Sir James and are excited that our partnership will be a long lasting one. We look forward to working with the James Dyson Foundation to develop new and inventive approaches to teaching and with The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology to explore exciting long-term opportunities for our students to pursue careers in engineering.”

The striking, open, light steel structure has been designed to blend sympathetically with the surrounding buildings, and to facilitate flexibility in the internal layout of building. With exposed structure and services, a principle behind the design is for pupils to be able to see how the building functions rather than concealing it’s workings behind ceilings and linings.  The proposed design also has sustainability and energy efficiency at its heart – using construction materials with a low environmental impact, maximising the use of natural light and ventilation and incorporating photo voltaic cells and ground source heat pumps.

Showcasing the latest green building technology, the naturally ventilated Dyson building will also use strategic planting to help control solar gain, and improve sound and heat insulation.  While glazing on the South facing facade will be protected from direct sunlight by brise soleil, to help ensure a comfortable learning environment and avoid glare, the East and West facades will benefit from a ‘green screen’ – innovative vertical cables with climbing plants which will not only provide protection from direct morning and afternoon light, but also soften the appearance of the building.

Subject to a successful planning process, it is hoped the building will be in use for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Image courtesy of Wilkinson Eyre Architects