Richmond Adult Community College

The historic Richmond Adult Community College, which has its roots in the late 19th century (1895), has been given a new and sustainable lease of life by an impressive refurbishment and new-build development, meeting the highest standards of energy efficiency.

The College facilities were previously located across two sites, one in Richmond and one in nearby Twickenham. Now all facilities have been combined on the Richmond site in a series of stunning spaces protected by a highly efficient thermal fabric. 

Placed at a high level, building services are skilfully integrated with architecture and structure. Each space has been designed with flexibility in mind, with the exposed services carefully set out to allow for future reconfiguration of teaching equipment and layouts. All teaching areas are generously filled with daylight and naturally ventilated. Rooflights and clerestory windows have been incorporated wherever feasible. Further energy gains have been achieved by efficient light fittings with daylight dimming and absence detection.

The project involved an extensive refurbishment of the Queen Charlotte Hall to make a new 250-capacity studio theatre with dance and music rooms and a recording studio, next to a noisy road. In acoustically sensitive spaces such as these, Skelly & Couch provided mechanical ventilation with heat reclaim.  

Reinforcing the benefits of exposed thermal mass, the heating system is equipped with thermostatic controls, and high-efficiency gas condensing boilers have modular control and weather compensation. To better understand where electricity is used in the building, Skelly & Couch has introduced split distribution boards which allow local sub-metering of small power and lighting. Designed with adult learning for the older generation in mind, the Community College is equipped with a range of adaptive and inclusive features, including induction loops and high levels of light.

Richmond Adult Community College has won two categories in the 2015 Brick Awards: Best Education Building and Best Refurbishment Project. It has won a 2016 Civic Trust Commendation, is shortlisted for a 2016 RIBA London Award and an AJ Retrofit Award, and is a finalist for a 2016 British Construction Industry (BCIA) Award.