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The Cloisters, Thetford Grammar School


Thetford, Norfolk, UK




This unique and highly innovative design project for Thetford Grammar School involved the conversion and extension of two derelict 18th Century curtilage listed buildings. The dramatic space of a polygonal Coachman’s House was converted into an intimate Drama Studies Centre and the adjacent Coach House and Yard have been enclosed to form a new state-of-the-art Sixth Form Centre.

The rich heritage of the site and of the school, which traces its origins back to AD 631, and incorporates the remains of an 11th Century Clunaic priory and the cloisters of a 14th Century, was the most significant factor affecting our design strategy. The new construction contrasts with and emphasises the historic buildings design, with the contrasting elements providing visual separation between the past and present.

The new space is modern, light and open, enhancing the overall image and environment of the school.

A single storey entrance foyer links the new facilities whilst a glazed strip in the roof around the Coachman’s House provides uninterrupted views of the facade. The roof, roof glazing, eaves slatted shading and general glazing have been designed to provide abundant natural light with minimum glare and unwanted solar gain.

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