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John McAslan + Partners wins Dulwich College masterplan

John McAslan + Partners (JMP) has won a competition to produce a masterplan for Dulwich College, London. The £20m project will transform the famous independent school's 75 acre campus in time for its 400th anniversary in 2019.

JMP's design will rework the 1400-pupil campus to create a cohesive site around an existing Grade II listed 19th century school building designed by Charles Barry, Jr. and will define a series of phased refurbishments and new building interventions within the school estate.

The campus, which has expanded over the last century without a masterplan, currently consists of a collection of disparate buildings. A priority of the new masterplan is to re-establish a clear and flexible pattern of movement and improved navigation for students and staff, as well as transforming redundant spaces into areas that contribute to college life. The masterplan will strengthen the existing site layout, which is centred around the primary axes of the Barry building and will provide better access to and use of all parts of the site.

The design places emphasis on the impressive Palladian character of the original school building. The re-landscaping of the main Western entrance to the Barry building, as well as the large car parks to its rear, will improve access and views of the existing structure, which have been hindered by years of site development.  A refurbishment of the listed building will create a range of flexible spaces that allow the school to harness the advantages of modern teaching methods, creating formal and informal learning environments.

John McAslan + Partners went through a very competitive tender process - organised by Caroline Cole from Colander - and was appointed ahead of Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, Bennetts Associates, Grimshaw Architects, Arup and Marks Barfield Architects.

Aidan Potter, Director of Urban Design and Infrastructure at the practice said: "We are delighted to be working on such as prestigious project. The College's masterplan draws upon JMP's experience of designing modern educational environments and the practice's expertise in restoring buildings of particular architectural merit, creating a forward-looking design that remains sensitive to the College's long history."

JMP has committed to an extensive programme of consultation with the school and pupils during the project. Dr Joe Spence, The Master of Dulwich College said: "The commissioning of John McAslan + Partners as our masterplanners is the most important decision I have taken in my 18 months at the College. I am determined that we should make sense of our 75 acre site and the best use of all our buildings, with the iconic Barry buildings at their heart. It's already proving a real pleasure to work with JMP and the whole school community is excited by the opportunity this project provides. 

 "This year sees the 200th anniversary of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the decade will end with the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the College, as Edward Alleyn's College of God's Gift at Dulwich. I would like the school to be stronger than it has ever been by 2019 and how it looks and utilises its space and buildings will be important to that. Dulwich College is a bold boys' school and it is McAslan's innate understanding of this which will help us to find the right solutions for what will remain a ruggedly handsome site."

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