Mr Jonnie Noakes – Head of Teaching and Learning, Eton College
“Eton College commissioned Lewandowski Architects to design a flagship new Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning at Eton College which opened in 2015. This project presented an unusual challenge: redesigning the interior of a traditional block of Edwardian schoolrooms that were oak-panelled and dark to transform it into a modern, light, state-of-the-art facility, including a variety of cutting edge teaching spaces, meeting spaces, a research room and offices. Lewandowski Architects proved themselves from the outset to be good listeners, receptive to Eton’s wishes, and highly imaginative in the ideas they put forward. They created a clear and exciting vision for the interior of the building which succeeded in meeting the practical imperatives for the various spaces while creating a very striking style and atmosphere – exactly the combination we were looking for. Throughout the project we found Lewandowski Architects to be excellent to work with: reliable, flexible, highly professional, and capable of seeing their vision through to completion to an excellent standard.
The resulting centre is stunning: on crossing the threshold of the Edwardian facade one enters a vibrant, light and ultra-modern space – the first reaction of almost all visitors is a spontaneous ‘Wow!’. This effect is significant because we are using the building as a nerve-centre for forward-thinking research and practice in teaching and learning, and the modern feel of the rooms sets up an expectation about exploring new ideas in bold ways that break out of conventions.
The building is divided into four areas: video conferencing, learning support, creativity and research. These four areas are colour-coded and distinct, yet the overall feel of the interior is very open because of the glass panels that give a sense of literal and metaphorical transparency. This is in keeping with the ethos we are seeking to promote of mutually observing teaching and learning in progress and sharing ideas and expertise among colleagues. This is one example of the many ways in which Lewandowski Architects’ designs are exactly suited to the purpose of the building.
The success of the design is owing in part to Lewandowski Architects’ clear vision, in part to their openness to our requirements, and in part to the close working relationship they had with the team: the feel of the whole building in consistent and well thought-through to the smallest details.
The building is an inspiring place to work and is popular with teachers and students alike. It has been visited by numerous schools and universities who wish to create centres with a similar feel. It is, in short, a great success, due in very large measure to the work of Lewandowski Architects.”
Julia Harrington – Headmistress of Queen Anne’s School
“We wanted a sixth form centre that would take the girls into a new way of looking at their learning – a creative, without bounds, space where they could develop their own way of looking at their personal development and plan their futures from an environment that linked them to life at university and the world at work. The idea of a ‘space’ that reflected the move from their junior years to a more expansive, experimental and open way of approaching their studies and the way they interact with their teachers and tutors and each other. In terms of the building itself, we had no blueprint for how this could be achieved. The new building also needed to fit into a space which combined the boarding accommodation and its surrounding green spaces, the sports centre and the performing arts centre – living, working and fitness of body and mind.
Lewandowski Architects took this unformed idea and developed a vision that has brilliantly given us the ‘space’ that we need to achieve our aims and has linked the building to the surrounding buildings and is at the heart of the school. It includes a new restaurant for all of the school to enjoy and links the new sixth form centre to main school life.
‘The Space’ that Lewandowski Architects has created represents for us a living building that comes out of the earth with its ‘earthy’ bricks and then up into an open glass area, representing the girls’ own journey in life; a ‘space’ where there are study zones that are digitally enhanced to a state of the art level, sitting within a more traditional ‘library’ area – encouraging them to combine new ways of working with more traditional approaches; themed break out zones where the imagination can really fly and where the students can experiment by being in an entirely different environment while they learn and create; a ‘space’ where they can live and work with each other in a way that will facilitate their development as young adults preparing for a fast changing world where the jobs they might be doing in a few years’ time probably don’t exist as yet.
There were some aspects of the building that we were a little sceptical of at first! The ‘archway’ into the newly created quad and the iron structures that were called ‘football posts’ for a long time took us by surprise. However, we were so impressed with the way in which Lewandowski Architects had thought through our vision – coming up with the idea of ‘break out’ zones that the girls had embraced and become involved with, the furniture that linked to the design and ethos of the building, the way in which the restaurant linked into the rest of the building without in any way compromising the sixth form centre – that we trusted their expertise and their commitment to give us the building we wanted and needed. As the building came out of the ground we were able to appreciate that these structures were very significant in terms of linking the building to our existing structures and also add an outside ‘space’ that continues the living building that Lewandowski Architects has created for us.”
Mark English, Deputy Head (Academic) UCS Hampstead
“We have very much enjoyed working with Lewandowski Architects on our library refurbishment and “creative classroom” project. From the outset, we found them to be innovation and solution-focused, albeit realistic and pragmatic. We were delighted with their response to our design brief; Alex and his team responded comprehensively to our requirements, finding clever solutions where required, and maintaining the bespoke nature of the project. We felt that they were working with us in a very specific way, and never generically. Furthermore, they have been organised, efficient and responsive, and our project is running to budget and timescale. On completion, we hope to continue working with Lewandowski Architects in the future, and I would recommend them to others without hesitation.”
Private Client – Windsor
“Lewandowski Architects did a great job on the extension and renovations at our home. We would highly recommend them and Alex Chapman especially. They took us from the design stage, through planning approvals, specs for the full design, contract tender and contracting process and then managed the contractor and build phase for us through to Completion. Throughout, Alex was responsive, helpful and patient. Above all, he took time to understand what we wanted. He always listened and was willing to adapt his own excellent ideas to accommodate our thoughts and wishes. We live overseas and we simply could not have managed the tender, contracting and construction phase without him. He kept us informed throughout and did a terrific job of keeping the project on track. The end product is fabulous, finished to a high standard and exactly how we had envisaged it when we started out. First-rate service, very professional – happy clients.”