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Smythe Library, Tonbridge School


Location Client Completion
Tonbridge School, Kent, UK Tonbridge School 2016

Project details

We have completed the redesign and restoration of the iconic Smythe Library at Tonbridge School in Kent.

We stripped out all internal walls and corridors to create more open, flexible spaces spread over four levels of the existing building. The contemporary extensions to the north and south sides of the library are designed to take advantage of the school’s well-manicured gardens and vast grounds creating an experience similar to that of a gothic cathedral cloister. The concept of the cathedral cloister was carried through the design and manifests itself in the form of a strong vertical structural rhythm improving circulation spaces. The addition of a largely glazed stair tower to the south side of the building meant we were able to drive a simple natural ventilation strategy as well as enabling high levels of natural daylight.


  • extend and refurbish the Smythe Library to reflect the school’s current and future needs
  • reduce the carbon impact of the building


  • optimised layout with improved circulation and more flexible working spaces
  • improved natural ventilation and daylighting
  • AJ Retrofit Award 2017
  • FX International Interior Lighting Design Award 2017
  • LIT Design Awards 2021

Integrated services

architecture, environmental engineering, interior design, lighting, acoustics