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The Prince of Wales opens new development at Eton College

The largest development at Eton College since it was founded in 1440 has been opened today by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.  
During the visit, His Royal Highness met with pupils in one of the new common rooms created alongside 40 new classrooms. These replace temporary facilities and those in need of significant repairs and for the first time whole academic departments are now housed together in one area.
The Prince of Wales also listened to students’ presentations in the new Jafar Hall, a 300-seater facility which can be used for a variety of purposes, including lectures and debates.      
He was then shown the Eton Museum of Antiquities, which is housed in the new Jafar Gallery and is a part of the Eton College Collections. The objects and artefacts there are already used in an outreach programme for schools, researchers and interest groups and this new space allows Eton to extend this still further. The new gallery will also allow the exhibits to be seen by the wider public through weekly openings which are planned to start in the autumn.    
The final object to be installed into the new exhibition was the marble head of a young man from a Greek relief, dating from the late 5th - early 4th century BC. His Royal Highness was invited to place it into its case. 
The creation of the Jafar Hall and Jafar Gallery were made possible thanks to the generosity of some of Eton’s supporters. This has also enabled the school to employ highly skilled UK craftspeople to work on the project. This has included the creation of a copper acroterion for the roof, hand-painted ceilings in the Jafar Hall and meticulous brick work, which has won the Best Craftsmanship Award at the 2014 Brick Development Association Awards.
Sustainable innovations have been incorporated into the classical but contemporary design. A ground source heat pump provides heating, drawing energy through a series of pipes under a nearby car park. The same pump reverses in the summer to cool the buildings. Even the fountain plays its part, with evaporation used to help keep the exhibition gallery cool in the warmer months. 
“As this is such a major development we wanted to ensure we created a landmark building which will last for centuries, just as our other buildings have. We were delighted that the Prince of Wales was able to be our guest at the official opening ceremony,” said Eton College’s Head Master, Tony Little. 
 “Thanks to the generous donations we have received we were able to employ some of the finest craftspeople of our time to create something very striking. Their work has been truly outstanding and a testament to the talent we have in this country. 
“Eton College already runs an outreach programme to share our wonderful College Collections with a wider audience. The Jafar Gallery gives us an excellent additional space to open access to even more people, as well as benefitting our own pupils.” 
Eton held an architectural competition at the start of the project and appointed John Simpson Architects to create the classic but contemporary buildings, while Feltham Construction oversaw the construction. 

 

Date Posted: 09 June 2015
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