West Dean College is a unique community in the Sussex Downs, a creative mix of artists and craftspeople, conservators and restorers. The practice refurbished a wing of the college’s Grade II* listed flint country house building. 11 new bedrooms with en-suite facilities were constructed for students on short courses and conference delegates. Rooms and circulation spaces have been designed to reflect the history of the building, the ethos of the college, and the legacy of its founder, the poet and surrealist collector Edward James. Each bedroom is entered through a shared ‘stoop’ to promote creative conversation & exchange. Previously dark corridors are top-lit by skylight lanterns, lined with copper leaf to ‘heat up’ the often cool English light. Our solution to the very tight room sizes was to give each bedroom a bathroom sheathed in etched blue glass, like a light-box or conceptual art installation within the room.
West Dean College