Barton Science Centre wins architecture award

Tonbridge School’s Barton Science Centre has won a prestigious national award for architectural and design excellence.

The three-storey, state-of-the-art building, which officially opened in 2019, has been named as the overall winner of The GGB Awards, presented annually in honour of Sir George Grenfell Baines, the founder of international architectural practice BDP.

In this year’s awards, 12 finalists were selected from an initial ‘longlist’ of 20 entries across the UK. Every project visited by industry leaders was judged to be of extremely high quality, displaying design innovation and a creative approach to its client’s needs.

The judges noted: “At the Barton Science Centre, a new three-storey collaboration space has been carved out of the historic building and a new wing added. It houses a variety of labs and teaching spaces wrapped around a social hub which encourages interdisciplinary working. The judges were impressed by the creative approach to reusing and extending a historic building.”

The Barton Science Centre is a blend of the old and the new, combining much of the Victorian architecture of the school’s original science building with a magnificent new extension and latest technology. Features include an interactive periodic table, a roof garden and greenhouse, a TV wall, three libraries and an observation hive for studying bees.

The building was named after former Tonbridge pupil Sir Derek Barton, an organic chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1969. Several of the school’s other notable scientists were also honoured in the naming of laboratories and libraries. 

It was officially opened by NASA astronauts Dr Michael Foale CBE and Dr Steve Swanson.

James Priory, Headmaster, said the school was delighted with The GGB Award. “The Barton Science Centre is a world-class facility which places Tonbridge at the forefront of teaching and learning in modern science, both nationally and internationally. It also plays an important role as a hub in the community, hosting primary school visits, family days, student conferences and public talks,” he said.

BDP has produced a short film about its awards. 

Pictured above and below: Interior and exterior views of the Barton Science Centre.


  • Barton Science Centre