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21st Jan 2016

Old School Contemporary Drama

The joy of our business is that each project is completely different from the last.  This contemporary extension, designed by Darren Aspinal from Thinking Buildings Architecture, certainly got everyone buzzing.  The new structure was to be built in total contrast to the existing building and its 1980's extension, in terms of design, materials and character.  However the flow between the old and new structures (both internally and externally) was clear and the plans showed a remarkable cohesiveness.   

The original stone Victorian frontage of this Headington old school house, built in 1840, remains completely untouched; from street view you would not know there was anything unusual about the property.  From the side and rear aspect however there is a stunning contemporary addition.  The sharp geometric lines, architectural glazing and oversailing first floor projection with zinc clad frame, all draw the eye to the corner glass top and bottom. 

Architects at Thinking Buildings have a reputation for designing outside the box.  Established in 2012, by Darren Aspinal and James Hutton, the company has since grown to 8 team members working out of two offices in Oxfordshire and Derbyshire. Their friendly, professional approach is clearly valued by their customers and project stakeholders alike; as is their very obvious passion for creating buildings which are not only functional but also truly exciting and original. 

In Darren’s words…

“Extensions to old buildings can be both fun and strikingly different. Thinking Buildings recently designed the extension of this former school house in the Old Headington Conservation Area and it is great to see the local planning authority supporting a contemporary design approach within the surrounding historic context. Our client is delighted at the end result, and the project was superbly built by StuartBarr Contractors.”

“Removing the 1980’s single story extension gave way to plans for successive layers of the building.  The design concept was to respect each historical addition to the building; which was to become ‘like 3 tiers of a cake’ finishing with the zinc clad wrap opening outwards to evoke a feeling of continuation.” 

Planning Officers from Oxford City Council were open to the modern design - particularly as the walled gardens and original frontage keep the third tier of the building a secret… that is until one walks around the corner and is treated to a very pleasant surprise! 

Click here to see more of the Headington old school project.

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