Chichester Free School | IG Lintels

Chichester Free School

Educational Development: Chichester Free School
Products used: Double Gothic Arch Lintel
Architect: Novium Architects
Contractor: Farrans Construction

2019 Best Educational New Build at the SPACES Awards

2019 Highly Commended at the Sussex Heritage Awards

Vacated in 1994 and in a state of disrepair since a fire destroyed its chapel in 2009, the convent in Hunston required partial demolishing and refurbishment. IG’s gothic arch lintels played an important role in the restoring character to the original convent built in 1870 – now a central piece to the new Chichester Free School.


The £26.5m project plans, designed by Novium Architects and built by Farrans Construction needed to retain the unique single and double gothic arch windows surrounded by stone detailing. Extraordinary engineering was required to help secure the traditional architecture within the crumbling walls.


The use of BIM by Doran Consulting within a Common Data Environment (Aconex) allowed their design team to integrate a digital survey of the existing convent building into the 3D models for the refurbishment to the existing and the extension of the two new school wings. This was vital in designing the new structure around the existing building, avoiding potential site clashes and to deal with complex details connecting the old building with the new, well in advance of site construction.

To ensure the existing convent facades were restored to their former glory, IG’s production team replicated a double gothic arch lintels to the exacting design and measurements required. 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.

The disused 19th century Carmelite convent has been successfully transformed into an educational facility. The new school blocks are linear in form with each wing projecting either side of the newly restored convent. The bespoke solution helped to rediscover the architectural significance of the old building as part of a new contemporary setting. The school now boasts a 600m2 sports hall, 250m2 hall and dedicated music and performance spaces for over 1280 students from reception age right through to sixth form.