The Laboratory brochure

The Laboratory The College’s new landmark building. A home

for Science and a venue for the Arts.

Over its four centuries Dulwich College has been a place of learning, exploration and adventure for thousands of boys.

Inspiring a new generation








Opening of the Science Extension Wing, including a cinema

Completion of the Science Block

Demolition of the Science Building; work begins on the Science Block

Science Building partially destroyed by a V1 bomb

The Science Building is opened

Workshops open

Barry Buildings open with one of the first school laboratories

housing the Science and Engineering Sides established by A H Gilkes

rooms and the James Caird Hall. The second phase was completed in July 2016 and embraces three laboratories for the Lower and Junior Schools, fve adaptable ‘Informatics’ suites with free-thinking spaces for creative learning and cross-curricular collaboration, a seminar room with full video conferencing facilities, a versatile 240-seat auditorium and an outdoor piazza for recreation and performance.

The Laboratory, the College’s new landmark building - home for Science and a venue for the Arts - is a testament of the College’s commitment to developing the next generation of scientists, engineers, artists, medical practioners and entrepreneurs. The frst phase opened in April 2015 and includes 18 fully equipped laboratories, three preparation







Jul - Completion of the second phase building Sep - Formal opening of The Laboratory

Mar - Completion of the internal finishes; testing of the new building begins Apr - Construction of the second phase building begins Sep - Lessons begin in the three-storey building

Jan - Foundation pilings are poured for the three-storey, first phase building Jul - The superstructure is erected Oct - Roof fitted

Planning permission and construction starts on Phase One of The Laboratory

Grimshaw appointed architects on the new Science Building

A new campus ‘Master Plan’ is commissioned by the Master, Dr Joseph Spence

Home for Science

Science at Dulwich has gone from strength to strength since the Barry Buildings opened in 1870 and gave Dulwich one of the first laboratories of any English school.

Beyond the classroom, Alleynians regularly compete in the Weizmann Institute’s Safe-cracking Tournament, the International Young Physicist tournament, the Student Robotics Challenge and the FIRST Lego League. The Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Medical Societies continue to be among the most popular in the College.

Old Alleynians can be found at the forefront of scientifc research and application, while pupils show a continuing passion for science both in and out of the classroom. The science department for A Level choice has become the largest of any independent school in the country with over 100 boys annually choosing A Level Physics in Year 12. Over the past three years 167 boys have gone on to read a Science, Engineering or Medical degree at university.

A venue for the Arts

The Laboratory provides a spacious, light-filled and flexible exhibition space for displaying student art.

From the ‘Variations on a Theme’ exhibition that opened in May 2016, showcasing the drawings and paintings of Sixth Form Art students from Dulwich and the Charter School, through to the stunning sculpture by Conrad Shawcross RA, designed in collaboration with a group of Art scholars from Years 9 to 13, the Laboratory has been the inspiration for numerous workshops and exhibitions.

Collaboration and Creativity

Central to the College’s plans for building and renovation at Dulwich College is a commitment to working with artists to improve the physical environment for learning. From first concept to full design, The Laboratory has been a story of collaboration, teaching and creativity.

Dragon’s Curve Peter Randall-Page RA

Grimshaw’s collaboration on the Eden Project with Peter Randall-Page, who created ‘Walking the Dog’ set in the grounds of Dulwich Picture Gallery, led to a conversation about the intrinsic relationship between Art and Science. Working with Grimshaw and using the Lindenmayer or L-system alogrithm, Peter designed the recurring ‘Dragon’s Curve’ pattern which can be seen embedded on the external cladding of The Laboratory. The L-system replicates the growth processes of plants and is also used across the sciences and adopted by composers and artists to replicate the beauty and rhythms of the natural order.

Exploded Paradigm (Inverted) Conrad Shawcross RA

Embodying the symbiotic relationship between creativity and discovery, the Shawcross sculpture complements and draws on the spirit of endurance proudly represented by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s James Caird lifeboat, permanently exhibited at the heart of the James Caird Hall. The sculpture builds on Shawcross’s work exploring Platonic solids and Conrad explicitly linked this commission to the 14 metre high sculpture on the plaza of the new Crick Institute at St Pancras. The fnished work reflects the notion of a paradigm shift, understanding that in art and science we are often jolted forward into new ways of thinking and seeing.

A move from segregated learning to integrated learning

The design intentionally provides flexible spaces which enable a variety of confgurations and layouts to future- proof the building against developments in technology and teaching in the years ahead. The Laboratories are light and airy ‘boxes’ with desk and work surfaces laid out in a matrix pattern capable of being adapted to different forms of teaching. All rooms are simple in design, providing a framework for learning rather than seeking to defne or restrict teaching styles.

The Laboratory at Dulwich College has created a new home for Science and a venue for the Arts that provides cross-curricular benefits to the College and local community.

The George Farha Auditorium

The George Farha Auditorium provides a 240-seat auditorium for the College and wider community. This spacious, light- filled, flexible space is hung with picture rails for exhibitions of student art. In addition to the opportunities for lectures, assemblies and formal presentations, the George Farha Auditorium offers a space for small recitals and informal drama productions, as well as events and dining for up to 80 guests. Two storeys high, the ground floor south wall is fully glazed with floor- to-ceiling doors leading out onto an expansive piazza. Clad with vertical timber fns, the upper floor is glazed on the north side allowing views of the auditorium.

Thermally Active Building System (TABS) uses borehole water extracted at 12.8 °C from 65m-120m below ground, running through the ceilings and soft fts of the building to extract heat, with the water going into a second borehole 100m away from the frst. This ‘Open Loop System’ uses ground source cooling rather than expensive and energy-ineffcient air conditioning, automatically delivering cooling on demand from individual rooms within the building. PV (photovoltaic) Solar Panels have been ftted on all available roof space generating some of the building’s electrical energy requirements.

Sustainability is a core principle in the design of The Laboratory and the new building uses innovative, environmentally inexpensive and energy-efficient systems.


The building’s highly efficient insulation envelope ensures maximum heat retention and maintains steady temperatures to avoid spikes of energy demand. The plant room of the new building delivers heating to The Laboratory and the Barry Buildings and the effciency of the new building is demonstrated in contrast to its Victorian predecessor: only 10% of the heating output of the plant room supplies The Laboratory; 90% heats the Barry Buildings. Cycle parking and storage has also been included in the fnal design. The College has a gold standard travel plan at DUCKS (our Kindergarten and Infants’ School) which is being extended to the whole College: some 62% of staff and students use alternative means of transport to cars for coming to and from the College. The design achieves BREAAM ‘

The design achieves BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status. BREEAM is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings.

External spaces

In shades of terracotta and concrete representing order in nature and the unity of learning, the recurring pattern connects The Laboratory with the rich colours of the historic Barry Buildings. It pays deference to the iconic buildings but makes its own statement. The building’s footprint wraps around two large internal spaces and is deliberately stepped back and placed in a setting which integrates with the boarding houses and the Barry Buildings. A sympathetic planting scheme complements and enhances the sense of openness and space forming an integral element of the College’s Landscape Plan.

The exterior of The Laboratory reveals the full beauty of the ‘Dragon Curve’ pattern, designed by Peter Randall-Page RA.

Community engagement

This includes weekly GCSE enrichment and extension visits from Year 9 and Year 10 pupils from Bonus Pastor, Bromley and A Level Physics teaching for students from St Thomas the Apostle College. Through Dulwich College’s expanding CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programme and its partnership with the Institute of Physics, The Laboratory is the venue for our support of non-specialist physics teachers from the local area. In addition, the College continues to maintain and foster educational partnerships with City Heights Academy in Tulse Hill and the schools of the Southwark Learning Partnership, and hosts a Saturday School for students from local state schools.

Not only do boys have full use of its laboratories,

Informatics suites and open spaces for lessons and society meetings, this is a facility that supports the College’s engagement with the wider community.

Thank you

The College is truly grateful to the community of donors that made this project possible, creating a state-of-the-art facility and transforming the boys’ learning environment at the College.

The Benefactors Wall along the Lower Cloister celebrates the 1,500 donors who have embarked with us on this adventure, from our 800 or more pupils donating £20.19 through to those adult members of the 2019 Society and benefactors of named spaces.

There are still opportunities to give to this vital project. To fnd out how you can help, please contact the Development Offce: development @ or 020 8299 5335.

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