In a departure from the gothic image of English private schools, Brighton College’s new building, designed by OMA, is an expression of global ambition.
Think of an English private school and you will probably think of somewhere gothic. Something like St Trinian’s, or Nigel Molesworth’s St Custard’s, whose ogees and oak made habitats for bats and spiders, whose shadowy recesses harboured aromas of boiled cabbage and sodden socks. Something, probably, much like Brighton College, in which flint walls are pierced by pointed arches that lead into enclosed spaces reminiscent of Oxbridge colleges, which open on to an expansive greensward dedicated to the inculcation of illogic and injustice through the games of rugby and cricket.
What you would not expect is something like the college’s new Sports and Science Centre, designed by the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), the practice founded by the celebrated not-gothic seer Rem Koolhaas. You would not expect it because no English private school has built anything quite like this before. Long, dark, angular and machined, it’s as if Hogwarts had been redesigned by George Lucas... [+]