Bespoke Lintels Bring Character to Stunning £26M School

Bespoke Lintels Bring Character to Stunning £26M School

Bespoke gothic arch lintels from IG lintels have played an important role in the transformation of an 19th century Carmelite convent, the centrepiece of the new Chichester Free School. Vacated in 1994 and in disrepair since a fire destroyed its chapel in 2009, the convent in Hunston, West Sussex, required partial demolition and refurbishment as part of the creation of a new school for over 1280 students.

In a design by Novium Architects and built by Farrans Construction, the new school blocks are linear in form with each wing projecting either side of the newly restored and central convent block which forms the heart of the school. The new build aspects have been designed to complement the existing convent block – a heritage building which is essential to the character of the site and a valuable asset to the new school.

To ensure the existing convent facades were restored to their former gothic glory, IG Lintels was approached for the design and manufacture of a bespoke double gothic arch lintel. A 1580mm opening span, incorporating two 650mm wide gothic arch details, with a 430mm rise was specified – increasing the end bearing to extend the distribution of the load to the brickwork. This lintel replicated the dimensions of an existing opening, ensuring full structural support was restored.

With the new school now open to students from reception through sixth form, IG’s provision of special lintels ensured Farrans Construction effectively retained the original features of the historic building. The previously disused convent building is now fully restored and forms the heart of the Chichester school development, demonstrating the importance of restoring buildings of such architectural significance.

The Keystone Group is the UK’s largest Steel Lintel manufacturer and Europe’s fastest growing Roof Window manufacturer. With a strong focus on innovation the company has grown to its present position in the marketplace by establishing a reputation for reliable supply of quality specialist products.


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BDC 305 Jun 2023