There were fifty-three boys on the roll in 1922. Today, it is a non-denominational, co-educational school for 350 post-primary students. Reviewing Lilburn Hall in 2009, John Parker noted that with “its entrance marked by a diminutive Victorian gate lodge, Sandford Park has the sense of a grand school in miniature. But as with many such private schools, its development had been accretive, expanding piece-meal and hemmed in by the limits of its grounds. The result was, by the turn of the century, an awkward assembly of disjointed buildings.”
The completion of Lilburn Hall marked the culmination of a ten-year redevelopment programme planned by DTA Architects and executed in four phases. “In the initial phases we concentrated on being mannerly towards the existing red-brick buildings,” says Derek Tynan. “We created a brick-lined urban space around the existing house by building a two-storey restaurant pavilion with a library above, looking over the playing fields, and linking this by a bridge to a range of colonnaded secondary accommodation along the site boundary. Then we tackled the house as a conservation project.
“By the time of this project, which was the fourth and final phase of the redevelopment, we were liberated from a direct relationship with the context. And because the hall was a much larger-scale building, we chose to make a different kind of façade onto Sandford Road to create a new identity for the school. It’s a big box, sunk 1.8 metres into the ground to lessen its impact on the nearby cottages on Collier’s Avenue. A steel frame sits on a concrete retaining wall and is simply wrapped in Equitone façade panels and Profilit translucent channel glass. The fibre-cement cladding was versatile in that it could also be used on the sloped roof over the foyer at the back of the hall. We were keen wherever possible to select materials that can be recycled at the end of their service life.”
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