Space to explore: The Laboratory at Dulwich College.
With Shackleton’s lifeboat (the actual one – he was a former pupil) on the ground floor, the Lindenmeyer system expressed on the external cladding and a sculpture representing an exploded paradigm suspended from the ceiling in the central lightwell, the message of this extraordinary building is clear: be brave, explore the world, find new ways of looking at things and never, ever give up.
Designed by architectural practice, Grimshaw, the new Laboratory at Dulwich College is part of an extensive programme of refurbishment that the College has undertaken ahead of its 400th anniversary in 2019. It’s a world away from its humble beginnings in Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village, but at the heart of the College are still the core values of philanthropy, service and partnership as embedded in the charitable mission of its founder, Edward Alleyn.
"…be brave, explore the world, find new ways of looking at things and never, ever give up.”
The central atrium of The Laboratory houses Shackleton’s lifeboat. The James Caird is the 23ft whaler in which Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions made their epic 800 mile voyage.
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The Laboratory is designed to encourage exploration in the arts and sciences, aiming to bridge the divide between the two. The light-filled ground floor is used as an exhibition space with eight superb science laboratories, a 240-seat auditorium and five informatics suites completing this stunning building.
"…this extraordinary building succeeds in providing an exciting environment where exploration, experimentation and creative thinking are positively encouraged.”
At Dulwich College, the teaching of critical thinking is one of the ways in which learning is enhanced. Critical thinking is the ability to unpack an idea, analyse it and assess the pros and cons. The writable surfaces in the Informatics Suites have proven ideally suited to critical thinking tasks such as mind maps, brainstorms and lists, providing an expansive space for the students’ ideas and thoughts.
The Informatics Suites are always full, in constant use by students of all ages and teachers of all disciplines. These ‘blank canvas’ rooms are just one of the ways in which this extraordinary building succeeds in providing an exciting environment where exploration, experimentation and creative thinking are positively encouraged.