The Centenary Centre is a new building at Sevenoaks Prep School: the conclusion of a number of 100th anniversary year projects at the school.
The school is situated on the edge of the historic Knole Estate in Sevenoaks, Kent and the new centre replaces mobile classrooms with a modern facility for art, science and general teaching. It is a stunning curved building with a radiating ‘folded’ roof structure like a Japanese fan.
The Original Brief
Architects HazleMcCormackYoung were chosen to design the building having won a mini design competition. We were originally approached by HMY in 2018 for help with specification of a shading solution to several large triangular windows together with a number of standard rectangular windows. Glare control was needed to the classrooms and blackout to the Library and Science rooms.
We initially put forward upward and side pulling blinds and provided budget costs. Most of the shaped blinds were subsequently omitted due to cost, but with power still to be provided so that they could be installed at a later date, leaving just blinds in the Library and Science areas.
The Revised Requirement
In early 2019 we were approached again by HMY for help with the specification, after a redesign of the shaped high level Library window with the original mullions omitted.
The Challenge & Solution
We then discussed the requirement with Shy Shading and found the redesigned large Library window would now have to be covered with 3 no. upward pulling blinds, with tension wires permanently across the glazing (these are only just visible as you can see in the image below of the finished installation).
Because of the blind tensioning, a change of fabric specification was needed from the original specification to a Shy fabric. We worked on this in detail with Shy Shading and HMY, providing samples and attending meetings on site. We were finally instructed by contractor Baxall Construction in November 2019, and the blinds installed are Shy Rolltop Obscura Blinds, upward pulling and motorised with 230v hard wired motor.
Watch our video below of the motorised blinds
Control of the Library blinds is linked to the AV system installed, by using Vestamatic MCP4 VRS control boxes. These also allow for any additional changes in the future if required. High level blinds to other classrooms were not provided, but wiring was installed to future proof with similar ceiling details so that blinds can be installed and power retro fitted in the future.
Other Requirements: Manifestation, Curtain & Track and Other Blinds
We were also instructed by the contractors to provide 50mm manifestation strips to the high level windows which line up with the structural design when seen from the outside of the building. Other details were strips of acorns to the windows and shields to other internal doors and screens.
A track and curtain was installed to the glazed partition between the Library and the adjoining classroom. We worked with HMY on this specification and provided DrapeTech Forest KS hand drawn track which has metal brackets and is therefore more suited to the school environment. The DrapeTech curtain we supplied and installed is in Venus FR fabric from Edmund Bell.
Other blinds installed to the Library are ShadeTech Motorised Roller Blind System RBL-E in a Shy fabric to match the shaped blinds.
Blinds installed to the classrooms generally are ShadeTech Crank Operated Blinds RBL-G in AlphaShade 20 fabric and, in rooms where blackout is needed, in DeltaBlock 30 fabric (which comes in an identical colour range to AlphaShade 20).
This has been a very interesting project. It is always great to be involved in a new build and the Centenary Centre is an imaginative addition to Sevenoaks Prep School. The bold design encompasses a vision of how teaching and learning at the school should be, with light and large airy spaces predominating. The layout encourages informal contact between teachers and students and incorporates features seen in the best senior schools.
We are very pleased with the installation of the shaped blinds which perform well in the Library area, and the blinds and manifestation throughout generally enhance the learning environments of this modern school.