Following 10 years of reviewing options, Radley College invited a select few architectural practices to a closed competition to explore options to increase the seating capacity in their Grade II* Listed Chapel, designed by Sir T.G.Jackson in 1893. It was vital that the appointed architect respected the integrity of the Chapel form and the part it plays in the tradition of ‘College Daily Service’, which has been the pinnacle of College life for staff and students alike since the early 19th Century.

Purcell was appointed to provide full architectural services from inception to completion. The project is being undertaken using BIM. The primary intervention is the extension of the East end, providing greater focus on the Sanctuary and the opportunity for reordering within the Chapel.

As part of these works, the 16th Century Flemish reredos is being repositioned to the rear of the Sanctuary. In developing the layout, Purcell has considered meeting the requirements for additional seating as well as ensuring the liturgical functions of the building are optimised.

The extension of a sequence of apses on the North and South elevations has created space for additional seating within the Chapel, as well as freeing up space for the processional East to West access, the embodiment of history and heritage encapsulated within the Chapel.

As part of our package of works, Purcell has also been working alongside an acoustician and organ specialist to improve the acoustics and incorporate a new organ into the Chapel. The organ is being repositioned from the North elevation back to its original position in the West Gallery, ensuring greater acoustic performance within the Chapel.

The development of the Chapel is a conscious continuation of Jackson’s work, whilst having its own distinctive character and presence. The architectural detailing, material selection, scale and proportion of the proposed extensions have all been driven by the sense of design unity within the Chapel. As such, whilst the alterations do seek to be a new piece, they are clearly of the same family, and belong to the Chapel.

Purcell has been appointed to lead the project team in adopting BIM Level 2 processes on this project. Collaboration is always a key component of any successful project, and adopting BIM Level 2 principles aligned to the clients brief has ensured a well-coordinated outcome for this project.

The project is due to finish on site in December 2020.