Marlborough College is one of the UK’s leading co-educational boarding schools. Former pupils include the Duchess of Cambridge and Samantha Cameron, as well as famous scientists, such as Nobel prize-winning biologist, Sir Peter Medawar and astrophysicist, Donald Lynden-Bell, CBE.
The campus and setting at Marlborough are exceptional: the grounds are a Grade ll-listed Park and Garden. The ensemble of existing buildings spans an eclectic range of styles from Late Decorated Gothic to Neoclassical to twenty-first century design. The existing Science building – designed by architect Colonel W.G. Newton and completed in 1934 – is listed Grade II and it was the College’s intention that it be renovated as part of the Marlborough Sciences £10m project.
In updating and expanding its Science facilities, the College enthusiastically embraced the latest thinking in Science learning and teaching. The most innovative university courses are sweeping away traditional distinctions between Biology, Chemistry and Physics with multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches.
Accordingly, the design brief stressed the need to exude cultural confidence as well as show sensitivity to the existing architectural grain of the campus. Fourteen leading practices were invited to submit an Expression of Interest at the first stage of the competition. Of these, five were shortlisted, given the brief, and asked to develop concept designs. Following presentations to the competition jury, Tim Ronalds Architects was unanimously selected as the winner. Competition organiser, Malcolm Reading commented:
‘This is a tricky site and all of the finalists showed great depth in their approach. In the end Tim Ronalds’ team had the edge because they managed to give the much-loved Newton building a renewed programme, and combine this with an elegant and open addition that will be a joy to learn in. The jury were particularly impressed by the team’s composition, their depth of analysis and interest in the project.’