Project Profiles: Education

Featherstone High School, Southall, London

Retrofit Team

Architect: DSP Architecture, London

The Kalwall façades allow floor to ceiling diffused daylight to to flood the interior while providing privacy for students.

The Kalwall façades allow floor to ceiling diffused daylight to to flood the interior while providing privacy for students.


This 1958 concrete-framed building was failing because of decay and ingress of water and needed structural stabilization. DSP Architecture was appointed to repair and encapsulate the frame, resulting in a modern teaching block befitting its outstanding Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) rating.

The renovation required the removal of the old concrete spandrel panels and repairs to the concrete structure. Kalwall panels were installed and supported on a new steel frame, which was added to extend the floor space.

The new façades allow floor to ceiling diffused and healthy daylight to flood the interior while providing privacy for students and removing any distractions. An integrated row of clerestory windows provides ventilation and limited views to the outside.

Kalwall eliminates all shadows and glare, as well as the stark contrasts of light and shade, which not only reduces eye fatigue, but also enhances concentration.

The system also allows for simplicity by doing away with the needs for blinds, curtains and solar control. Even on cloudy days, Kalwall allows for ample daylighting, which means less artificial lighting. In addition, because Kalwall is highly insulating, energy costs are reduced.

The build was completed in two phases during the course of a year while the school continued to operate. Time and money was saved by using Kalwall Unitized Curtain Walls, which are assembled and glazed at the factory. Once delivered to the site, these large units can be installed rapidly, allowing the building to be enclosed quickly and interior work to commence earlier. The ability to keep the school functioning while the work was completed meant minimum disruption to staff and students.

Geraldine Walder, project architect at DSP, comments: “The client specifically requested Kalwall for this project after seeing how well it worked on our previous project for the adjoining sixth form building. The advantage of it being fabricated offsite meant disruption and time onsite were minimized while the combination of high insulation, natural daylight and ventilation means reduced energy costs.”

Unitized Curtain Wall: Kalwall

Photo: Alex Upton

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