Axis Architecture since 1994

Bedales School

– Petersfield, Hampshire


The brief called for the integration of the existing swimming pool with a new roof structure and additional sports, changing and shower facilities. A full height, glazed steel entrance lobby erected at one end of the pool carries a ‘toblerone’ steel truss which supports the new roof and air handling ductwork. The pool itself was completely re-lined, fitted with underwater lighting and extended on one side to form a smaller separate learner pool.


Following completion of the new sports facilities at the school (featured in this section), the school were keen to utilise the subsequently redundant existing changing facilities block. The block was a single-storey red brick structure with a flat roof, and did little to complement the adjacent buildings or courtyard.

Axis architecture was commissioned to provide full architectural services for the design and construction of a new social space. The facility is intended for use both by pupils to meet socially during the week, and by boarders to socialise out of school hours in a secure environment. Further to this it will be used as an assembly point for visitors when events are held in the main courtyard and hall.

The design utilises the majority of the existing brick structure, whilst remodelling the openings to provide larger windows to light the interior, and to provide visual proportions more sympathetic to those of the neighbouring buildings. A tiled pitched roof and a glazed entrance with octagonal rooflight give the new facility a character appropriate to its context.

Internally, two distinct zones are formed. One is an open space for informal dining and socialising, whilst the other is a more intimate space for relaxing, with comfortable furniture and private seating booths to the side.)

Contract Value:  £190k

Contract Period:  7 months. Completed in January 2002


The original brief required that the new science laboratory should be linked directly with the existing flat roof building to form a pleasant courtyard feature.

Axis Architecture however, preferred a scheme which reflected the materials and architectural features of the much older pitched roof laboratories and were keen to avoid the style of the flat roof labs and adjoining lecture room.

With this in mind it was decided that a plain tile pitched roof with red brick and rendered areas of external walling and white-framed windows would be most suitable.

The plan of the proposed building includes splayed features where joining the existing, to enable the current windows to remain, as well as forming a link feature common to both. The windows to the Southwest elevation are shown in pairs to form some sympathy with those of the existing laboratory.

The new South East elevation has been designed with a barn hip roof similar to the existing physics prep room opposite.

All the materials and features were carefully chosen to match as closely as possible those of the existing science buildings to give an overall level of consistency of scale and quality of architectural detail.

Contractor: PMC Construction Ltd


Axis Architecture was included on an initial competition shortlist of four practices, to produce a concept design for a new teaching and administration building at this private school in Petersfield, Hampshire.

The brief required the replacement of the present administration and teaching facilities, currently housed in deteriorating single-storey timber framed structures, with a new building which would provide both an improved teaching atmosphere, and more coherent administration accommodation.

In the wider context of the school, the location of the new building occupies an important position, serving both to provide the main public entrance, and to enclose the quadrangle of main buildings surrounding the prized orchard. Further to this, aesthetic consideration was paramount, as the building would share the orchard perimeter with the Grade I listed Lupton Hall and library, and the more recent Olivier Theatre.

With these considerations in mind, the design philosophy for our proposal was that the new building should help to provide continuity to the school and, through its own architecture, would serve to enhance the aesthetic and architectural quality of the whole.

The Axis scheme was not chosen, however the team enjoyed the challenge and the process.