​Contemporary dining in historical buildings

Earlier this year, we were invited to work with English Heritage at an Independent Prep School in Hampshire that currently has no kitchen facilities, leading to all meals having to be brought in. The school is set in extensive grounds, and the buildings are listed, so any development has to be sympathetic and in keeping with the existing structures. Our brief was to create a modern kitchen, suited to serving hundreds of children, whilst fitting into the historical environment. ISCC project lead and partner, Chris Stanley comments:

“Working with English Heritage is both interesting and challenging. They encourage us to stretch our imagination in order to produce a truly contemporary kitchen and dining facility for this historic school whilst conforming to guidelines.”

Consultations took place with children, parents, school staff and governors and as well as the architects and English Heritage to make sure that all opinions and viewpoints were considered and represented.

The outcome is that we have designed a unique and bespoke island servery counter, with organic ergonomic flowing lines. The counters incorporate an area to display taster dishes for children to pick up and try something new, different and unusual including dragon fruit, cane sugar and other delicacies, chopped up and presented as dainty mouthfuls.

A unique feature of the project is the hospitality area for beverages that sits within the lunchtime servery with its hot and cold well features, making it part coffee shop, part refectory. There is an attractive outlook over the courtyard area, designed as a ‘curiosity space’.

The school encourages pupils to be self-responsible, clearing and stacking their own plates so this had to be borne in mind when designing the customer flow within the space.

The new kitchen and food preparation area also had be carefully considered to meet English Heritage regulations, for instance, hiding extraction units and softening noise. A creative solution to the ventilation was designed which directs the extracted air vertically out of a flat roof, and silent refrigeration motor units have been found.

It’s a very exciting project to be involved in, and we look forward to it taking shape over the summer months.