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The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury

Weathering steel cladding the upper two levels works with historic brick alongside

The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury
The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury Credit: Dennis Gilbert

RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA South East Award winner 2021


Walters & Cohen Architects for The King’s School
Contract value: undisclosed 
GIA: 3,539m2

The International College is a simple but highly effective building, providing classrooms and communal spaces at ground floor and accommodation above. It is boldly modern and does not attempt to copy the adjacent historic Malthouse, but in its honesty it fits the former industrial site really well. It makes a new public square with the Malthouse, which will be used by visitors, but also creates a private space; a central courtyard for resident students. 

With a simple palette of materials, it is an almost transparent structure at ground level, arranged around an attractive courtyard with a small stage, and provides comfortable accommodation above. It is a wonderful, relaxed environment for young international students who may be studying abroad for the first time. It is a great example of inside-outside connectivity, achieved through sliding doors opening into the courtyard, and offers safe outdoor accommodation while maximising visibility across the ground floor spaces for the resident house tutor. 

  • The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury
    The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury Credit: Dennis Gilbert
  • The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury
    The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury Credit: Dennis Gilbert
  • The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury
    The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury Credit: Dennis Gilbert
  • The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury
    The King's School, Canterbury International College, Canterbury Credit: Dennis Gilbert
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The rusty Corten-wrapped new building complements the traditional red brick facade of the Malthouse next to it. Not content with just sharing facilities, the colour matching of the exterior materials and the referencing of the original floor tiles in the design of the expansive glazing ensures the close visual connection of the two buildings is always felt. The architects of both buildings worked together, and there are little moments of connection inside, like the use of the same light fittings.

The upper levels, housing the mixed-sex accommodation, are linked by a terrace that overlooks the courtyard and study areas within the shared corridors and encourage students to study together and form social bonds.


See the rest of the South East winners here
And all the RIBA Regional Awards here
See other RIBA National Awards 2021 winners, Education, here

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