When a new state-of-the-art music building called for stunning brick features to complement its warm timber aesthetic, IG Masonry Support was able to create a solution to meet the client’s exacting brief.
King’s College School, Wimbledon is an independent day school which is one of the most academically successful educational institutions in the world.
Designed by Hopkins Architects, overseen by contractor Interserve and brickwork by subcontractor Lee Marley Brickwork, the school’s new music building comprises sound-proofed practice rooms, large group rehearsal venues, specialist classrooms and a stunning concert hall which accommodates a 70-piece orchestra as well as a capacity for an audience of 200.
The external walls are made from hand-made brick in order to heighten the campus’s architecture and the school’s historic nature. Such is its modern beauty, the building won a series of awards, including the RIBA National Architecture Award 2019, after it opened in 2018.
IG Masonry Support was selected for this project due to its expertise and successful completion of previous work programmes for Interserve in cooperation with Lee Marley, including the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC).
For the King’s College School’s new music building, the client desired a series of load bearing arches with mechanically fixed bricks. One of these arches had to incorporate the school’s coat of arms, which would greet visitors and students to the building, and proudly symbolise the site’s heritage.
To meet this demand, IG Masonry Support manufactured and supplied a range of brick slip flat skewed arches all mechanically fixed and built seamlessly into the brickwork. Customisable to architect’s design wishes, the Brick Slip Masonry Support systems are prefabricated units manufactured offsite and delivered complete with bricks bonded to them.
Brick arches have retained their aesthetic allure for hundreds of years. The utilisation of IG Masonry Support’s brick slip system enabled the perfect convergence of tradition and modern methods of construction, offering a historic aesthetic within an easy-to-install solution.
One of the architect’s requirements was that the bottom edges of the arches follow a slight curvature in order to match the appearance of the old traditional built arches. Offering the traditional ‘look’ with all the modern benefits, utilising IG Masonry Support’s versatile solution ensured the architect’s wishes could be granted.
Due to the nature of this project, all the brick slips had to be mechanically fixed in addition to the use of adhesive. Furthermore, structurally, the combination of a long clear span (up to 4.5m) and high loads, required the use of heavy steel sections. Thanks to IG Masonry Support’s skill and expertise, these challenges were overcome.
A separate hurdle lay in the historic coat of arms which had to be fixed to one of the arches. The stone, which is engraved with the arms, dated back around 200 years and had to be modernised in order to make the installation possible. IG Masonry Support collaborated closely with a specialist, who sensitively restored the coat of arms, ensuring its integrity was retained.
IG Masonry Support went above and beyond to assist the specialist with the coat of arms. Doing so meant the symbol looked immaculate on installation, meeting the architect’s wish for a modern building with touches of traditionalism.
IG Masonry Support exceeded expectations in more ways than one, however. As IG Masonry Support’s brick slip masonry support system is tailorable to a project’s requirements, a seamless match with the surrounding brickwork was achieved with all support steelwork able to be concealed.
Not only is the system versatile, it offers ease-of-installation, which subsequently enables time-savings onsite. The bespoke solution offers a 70% weight saving against an equivalent concrete product, negating the need for mechanical handling and onsite labour. These were significant benefits on this project in particular.
A stunning music building within a high-profile school’s campus, the presence of IG Masonry Support’s systems and the expertise of its teams ensured King’s College School’s new space is an inspiring arena for the next generation of musical talent.
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