Rhodes House, Oxford

Skelly & Couch has completed Stage 4 design at the Grade II*-listed Rhodes House, Oxford, for a new world-class convening hub designed to encourage the global exchange of ideas across all cultures and nationalities.

King's School Canterbury Collection

Skelly & Couch has carried out a series of commissions for the King’s School Canterbury, within a beautiful setting near Canterbury Cathedral, a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Polka Theatre

The original 40-year-old Polka Theatre in Wimbledon was the first UK theatre venue dedicated exclusively to children. This project features a refurbishment of the theatre with an added extension to the rear of the building led by Foster Wilson Size Architects.

New Temple Complex

The 559m² New Temple Complex by James Gorst Architects demonstrates an exemplar approach to passive design and long-term sustainability.

 

Situated within an 11.5-hectare estate in the South Downs National Park, the New Temple Complex is a multi-faith space comprising of healing chapels, a library, a multi-use lecture room, a kitchen and a visitor’s entrance foyer; all linked via an internal cloister. The temple holds symbolic elements reflecting the spiritual beliefs of the White Eagle Lodge and it occupies the same sacred spot as its 1970s predecessor. The building is completely framed in timber with clay brickwork encased in chalk lime mortar, all natural materials found in the immediate surroundings, encouraging a connection with the landscape.

The building’s environmental strategy is rooted in passive design principles, prioritising energy efficiency during the initial design phase. This approach includes low fabric heat loss, enhanced daylighting, and natural ventilation, forming the basis for the subsequent integration of low-carbon and renewable technologies.

The building fabric incorporates high-performance glazing exceeding conventional insulation standards, thereby effectively minimising heat loss. The New Temple's shallow, single-storey structure maximises daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Nestled away from noise and pollution, the temple enjoys the benefits of natural ventilation, further aided by high-level actuators strategically placed in the temple's clerestory.

Innovative sustainability features include a sub-floor ventilation system operational in high occupancy areas. This system uses the thermal mass of a labyrinth to provide tempered air in winter and free cooling in summer.

Overcoming challenges posed by the absence of natural gas infrastructure and the availability of only single-phase power, the project successfully procured a small low-carbon ground source heat pump meeting the needs of the entire building. Buried in the landscape, this technology extracts low-temperature energy from the ground, producing higher temperatures that serve underfloor heating throughout the temple. Pre-existing photovoltaic panels were repurposed and relocated to an open area on-site, partially powering the heat pump and providing the building with low-carbon electricity.

The New Temple Complex stands as a timeless space for contemplation and community, seamlessly blending spirituality, simple architecture, and sustainable design. Its harmonious integration with the surroundings embodies both peace and environmental stewardship.

 

In Numbers

On-site energy generation 4,550 kWh/yr
Heating and hot water load 19.73 kWh/m2/yr
Total energy load 42.60 kWh/m2/yr
Carbon emissions (all) 25.9 kgCO2/m2

 

Services

Electrical and Lighting
Heating
Ventilation
Acoustics

 

Awards

RIBA South Awards – South Award Winner 2024
RIBA South Awards – Building of the Year Winner 2024
RIBA South Awards –  Sustainability Award Winner 2024
RIBA South Awards – Project Architect of the Year Winner 2024
Civic Trust Awards  – The National Panel Special Award Winner 2024
Civic Trust Awards  – The Special Award for Sustainability 2024
AJ Architecture Awards – Winners 2023
Wood Awards – Winners 2023

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Jacksons Lane Arts Centre

Founded in 1975 inside a former Wesleyan Methodist church, Grade II-listed Jacksons Lane Arts Centre has played a key role in the development of London’s fringe and community theatre. The latest project upgrades technical and visitor facilities within the complex, which features a 166-capacity theatre, large-scale studio and café-bar, all of which were in need of repair.

National Theatre Costume Workshop

The existing 5th floor costume workshop department at the Grade II*-listed National Theatre is undergoing a full refurbishment to meet up-to-date compliance requirements and better meet the needs of the costume workshop users.

Warburg Institute

Skelly & Couch is presently involved in the refurbishment and building extension of the Warburg Institute which addresses the building’s infrastructure issues but also instigates the development of a new lecture theatre in a 1950s library.

Waddesdon Manor Visitor Pavilion

A practical and contemporary-style pavilion for the visitors of Grade I-listed Waddesdon Manor.

King's School Canterbury – Malthouse

This exciting project provided a new drama centre for The King’s School Canterbury, a co-educational day and boarding school with whom Skelly & Couch have had a long professional relationship.

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

Skelly & Couch worked on a spectacular new home for the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts on a site behind the Stirling Prize-winning Peckham Library in south London.

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