by Tudor Roof Tiles
King’s College School in Wimbledon, one of the leading academic independent schools in the UK, has won multiple awards in 2018 and 2019 for the design of its impressive new Music School.
Founded in 1829, the school is set in a Conservation Area, and so a sympathetic design was required from Hopkins Architects, which would reference its surroundings using a palette of traditional materials in an innovative and modern way.
Picking up on the school’s context and in particular the Grade II Listed Great Hall, the external walls were constructed from handmade brick and the roofs from complementary handmade clay roof tiles set in a pattern, which expressed the triangulated structure of the Concert Hall and Rehearsal Room.
This stunning geometric pattern, was created solely from the distinctive shapes of the bespoke roof tiles, whilst the adjacent linear block had a different but complementary roof form constructed from matching classical plain clay tiles.
Hopkins Architects specified new handmade clay rooftiles, rather than machine made tiles, as they have a natural character and subtle variation of tone and texture, which would blend well with the architectural context in a Conservation Area.
The handmaking process is also considerably more flexible than the manufacture of machine-made tiles, therefore lending itself better to the precise and bespoke nature of their design. All the non-standard shapes and sizes of roof tiles were made by hand, with unusually elongated arrowhead tiles of 400mm long and 100mm wide being particularly difficult to handle. This is 150% longer and 40% less width than standard rooftiles and with a curvature, which was within very small tolerances.
No less than six different designs of bespoke tiles were created, each in two colour-ways to avoid a uniform appearance. Mock up sample panels were constructed to assess the various combinations of colours, with of 30% red and 70% brown tiles chosen as the final mix.
Bespoke hip tiles were also specially created with meticulous attention to detail from the architect’s hand drawn three-D diagram, with dry clay prototypes being presented to the roof so that slight adjustments could be made to achieve the exact size and shape.
Manufactured from Etruria Marl, which is a very dense high-quality clay, the roof tiles were made using traditional handmade techniques to create an ‘instant aged’ and time weathered appearance. Each tile was carefully hand-pressed, moulded and trimmed and then strengthened using advanced firing techniques, with specialised stacking and conditions created within the kiln to prevent any potential twisting and drooping of the elongated tiles.
With a total of over 90,000 roof tiles and specials being made to order, it was important that modern performance standards and assurance of longevity were also backed by Tudor’s 30-year guarantee.
Skilled roofers not only had to work with the variations and idiosyncrasies of handmade tiles, but deal with the complexities of the geometric pattern, which required mixing and accurate laying onsite to the architect’s precise blue-print. This collaboration between architect and manufacturer and roofers has resulted in an instantly recognisable and complex roofscape.
“The school is delighted with the appearance of the roof tiles, which look even better than we had expected. They finish off this spectacular building brilliantly,” said Anne Bartlett, Estate Bursar, King’s College School Wimbledon.
Tudor roof tiles are available from leading roofing and builders merchants. For more information, contact Tudor Roof Tile Co. Ltd
Contact Tudor' office and talk to us on 01797 320202, or telephone Tudor's area Managers direct
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