Art and Design Centre, Bedales School, Petersfield

  • Bedales School

  • Bedales School

  • Bedales School

  • Credit: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

    Credit: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Design and construction of an inspirational new Art and Design Centre


The new Art and Design building at Bedales School consists of a steel frame construction, founded on bored piles and RC ground beams. The floor slabs are constructed using pre cast concrete, the building is clad in a mixture of larch and oak, topped with a multi pitch zinc standing seam roof. The design intent was for an “agricultural, barn like” appearance which blends into the surroundings of this exclusive independent school in the rural South Downs.

The building envelopes a central courtyard with a feature English oak tree at its centre, this Oak is over 150 years old and the construction operations needed to be co-ordinated around its substantial root protection area. Design considerations and sympathetic construction techniques ensured that this unique feature will remain for another 100 years. Further tree protection measures to other trees on the site made this site particularly restricted.

The cladding timber has been intentionally left rough sawn and un-regularised to give a “rustic” feel, but the centre piece is the oak lattice screen to the west elevation which was built by specialist craftsmen, utilising traditional mortice and tenon joints, drawn together with oak pegs. The roof has five ridges along the buildings length and is clad in natural zinc which will weather with the timber. Internally the feel is industrial with exposed concrete soffits and exposed galvanised steel services. Steel beams are encased in birch ply and Troldekt acoustic panelling to extend the agricultural appeal.   Birch ply furniture and oak doors continue this theme throughout.


  • Extensive tree protection requirements
  • Restricted site due to tree protection fencing (great crested newts on the site)
  • Exposed services
  • Ensuring “rustic” appeal was maintained


Drainage and foundations within root protection area raised up to sit close to the surface, excavations hand dug to avoid root damage. All works were supervised by an Arboculturist.

All site personnel briefed on the importance of tree protection and significance of great crested newts. The crane for steel erection was sited within the foot print of the building, achieved by constructing foundations in a sequential manner.

The program had to be sequenced around getting watertight as quickly as possible, to allow internal finishes to be progressed.

The internal trades required tight co-ordination, a high level of finish and quality was required to make the project a success.

We ensured the use of raw materials were evident throughout and ensured the finishes on these materials were reviewed and approved prior to installation. A high level of quality and supervision was required from our finishing manager to ensure the building reflected the clients vision.

“The client team have enjoyed working with Beard on this inspirational project. I would have no hesitation in recommending Beard to other clients.” 

Nigel Hartley, Construction Director, Big Yellow Group Plc



Bedales School

Contract value

£3.7 million


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Quantity Surveyor

Stace Construction & Property Consultants

Contract duration

55 weeks

Form of contract

JCT Design/Build 2011

Procurement Method

Single stage


Back to Top