WilkinsonEyre-designed prep school gets £35m cash boost from Dyson

The practice’s designs feature a new mirror-clad prep school building, housing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) facilities for pupils aged nine to 13,  alongside a restored Holt Hall, a Grade-II listed Victorian building.

Holt Hall and a surrounding 34ha of land was purchased with the help of the James Dyson Foundation, Gresham’s said. It increases the size of the school by a third.

Dyson, best known for his innovative vacuum cleaner, attended the private boarding and day school in Norfolk from 1956 to 1965 and has so far given £50 million to Gresham’s including funding earlier building projects.

The new prep school block will make use of a ground-source heat pump, natural ventilation systems, solar panels and a water recycling system to reduce operational carbon.

Dyson said: ‘The architecture and design of the new wing – with a mirrored external surface – will reflect the ancient woodland, allowing it to blend into its stunning setting.

‘We will also restore the Victorian building and protect the surrounding ancient woodland for Gresham’s pupils to discover and learn in, adding state-of-the-art facilities.’ 

Gresham’s last year opened its Dyson STEAM Building for the school’s senior pupils – also designed by WilkinsonEyre – following a donation of £18.75 million by the designer and inventor.

The job is the latest in a long-running collaboration between Dysn and the practice, which previously designed the vacuum cleaner company’s Wiltshire campus.

As many as 1,000 children from local schools have already made use of the school’s new Dyson STEAM Building, Gresham’s says.

Dyson has long donated to educational causes with the James Dyson Foundation recently pledging £6 million to Malmesbury Primary School near the firm’s headquarters, although the donation was not approved by the Department for Education.

The foundation has also given £12 million to Imperial College London and £8 million to Cambridge University, as well as awards to more than 400 students as part of the James Dyson Award, a problem-solving competition for students.

The new prep school at Gresham’s is expected to open in September 2026, subject to planning.


تحریریه اخبار معماری آریانا