In its 300 years of history, Kneller Hall in Whitton has been home to a wide range of residents – from Charles II’s court painter to the Royal Military School of Music. When the MoD announced that they were selling the Hall, Radnor House School appointed us to help convert it into a new home for their Upper School.
The School will need to accommodate up to 1000 students, with a number of new facilities on the site. Kneller Hall’s history is both an opportunity and a challenge, and any proposals will need to consider the sensitive, constrained site, with Grade II listed buildings, significant mature trees and an area within the Metropolitan Open Land.
The masterplan for the School will include a new sports centre, swimming pool and performing arts centre, as part of a full suite of 21st-century facilities for students. Accessibility is a common challenge when converting historic buildings, and we’re looking carefully at routes, entrances and exits to ensure that the building will be accessible to everyone.
Access isn’t the only issue with older buildings. We’ve set ambitious sustainability targets for the project: retrofitting (rather than demolishing) buildings is inherently sustainable, but we aim to minimise negative impacts wherever possible, including through a landscape strategy that will increase biodiversity. Connecting the students with nature is also key to this strategy, and proposals will include a new pavilion, improved playing fields and a forest school.
When complete, the Upper School at Kneller Hall will be a testament to creative reuse, adding yet another chapter to this building’s multi-layered history.