Dulwich College, founded in 1619, was re-established on its 70 acre green field site on Dulwich Common in the 1870s. The main building, New College, was designed by Charles Barry Junior, son of the architect of the Houses of Parliament, in a style which he called ‘North Italian of the Thirteenth Century’. With a Palladian structure as his base, Barry was given free rein to indulge his imagination from triangular gables to a roof of finials, turrets and cupolas. At its opening, the Governors of the College declared it to be ‘worthy of our aspirations and resources’. In 1877, Barry was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects with New College Dulwich cited along with some of his other major works such as the facade and forecourt of the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly, London.
On the inside, Barry combined traditional elegance with the daily needs of a working school. Dulwich was the first public school to have a dedicated hall for assemblies with all teaching directed towards the classrooms. There were also three science laboratories and a lecture theatre. The great hall and sweeping staircases add a sense of grandeur in keeping with the academic aspirations of the school.
In 2010 the Master and Governors commissioned an architectural ‘Master Plan’ from John McAslan+ Partners which will ensure that we make best use of the campus and have a clear strategic sense of our potential for building on it over the next generation. The Laboratory, the College’s new landmark building – home for Science and a venue for the Arts – is a testament to the College’s commitment to developing the next generation of scientists, engineers, artists, medical practitioners and entrepreneurs. Sustainability is a core principle in the design of The Laboratory and the new building uses innovative, environmentally inexpensive and energy-efficient systems.