Architecture practice Broadway Malyan has designed a new campus for the Westminster School in Chengdu, China. Providing a new learning environment for one of the UK's leading independent schools, the project will be the first of six new schools built in China. Made to embrace the latest pedagogical thinking, the design also includes references to the famous Westminster Abbey as well as traditional British school vernacular of Victorian red brick with gable ends.
The Westminster School was designed by Broadway Malyan’s education team to accommodate more than 2,000 students across a 100,000sqm campus. The project will be an all-through boarding school with a focus on STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) for Kindergarten to age 18, but also with an additional focus on music and drama. This focus on the arts is reflected in the design of the campus, which includes a major ‘West End’ standard 1,000 seat theater, and arts and music pavilions, as well as a black-box theater with retractable seating for 300 and various art exhibition halls. The school also has 70 music practice rooms distributed between the teaching and boarding blocks.
Ben Somner of Broadway Malyan said that, "International schools of this nature have been an emerging typology in recent years and we have worked closely with Westminster School to design a school that mirrors its educational ethos and values within a world-class learning environment. Some of the great icons of London form the backdrop for Westminster School and our design approach makes reference to this context and the school’s British heritage without becoming pastiche, instead creating a new vernacular that marries these influences with the demands of the Chinese international school sector."
The orientation of the three major arts buildings and the dining hall form to create Little Dean’s Yard, a courtyard at the heart of the campus that references the quad at Westminster School of the same name while providing a central focal point for school activity. The campus will include four stone-clad buildings that were inspired by the volumes and vertical proportions of the Abbey, using the same language of monolithic stone elements with large stone ribs and pillars that reference the buttresses of the 10th century building. The teaching buildings are largely red brick with pitched roofs and dynamic brick and glazed gable walls, referencing Victorian school houses, and are orientated as a series of long linear blocks but defined by their own formal colonnaded courtyards.
Chengdu Westminster School is set for completion in 2020.