Oxford High School, Oxford

Oxford High School, Oxford

Proteus SC
Elis Williams Architects

Gone are the days when the school building consisted of rectangular blocks inhabited by a large hall and small classrooms. Now, secondary schools in particular are expected to inspire pupils with engaging designs and state-of-the-art classrooms, spacious break out areas and additional facilities such as community halls and lecture theatres

This was certainly the case with the design and development of the Oxford High School for Girls’ Day School Trust’s (GDST) new sixth form and arts centre, which features innovative cladding from Proteus Facades.

Designed by Ellis Williams Architects and developed by Beard Construction, the brief for the new Ada Benson Building, named after the school’s first headmistress, an advocate for women’s education, was to create a space that encompasses quality architecture, reflects the legacy of its namesake and promotes educational excellence.

The facility, which has been described as an epitome of school design, features contemporary classrooms, a health and wellbeing centre, textiles atelier, art studios and a state-of-the-art auditorium.

Providing the exterior of the building with a lustre that matches the quality within, perforated cladding panels, manufactured by Proteus Facades from a 2mm Stainless Steel Proteus SC tray in a 240S silver brush polish finish, wrap around the entirety of the first floor.

Each panel features striking perforations in a bespoke, organic and geometric pattern that adds architectural interest to the façade; whilst ensuring it is in keeping with other buildings on the school campus and respectful of the adjacent Conservation Area and mature trees along the existing southern boundary.

The Proteus SC panels, installed by Deane Roofing & Cladding, are supported off a 125mm x 50mm mullion and helping hand brackets set off the primary structure to generate a small soffit lip around the entire building that wraps further to form soffits in the main entrance areas.

Proteus SC is an engineered panel system that is offered in either solid, perforated or mesh panel formats. By utilising an extensive range of metals, colours, textures and forms it can add another dimension to any façade cladding project. The system can be manufactured in materials from 1mm to 5mm in thickness. Acoustic insulation layers can be encapsulated within the panel for internal applications and Proteus Facades can also provide contrasting fabric inserts when the panels are perforated.

During a tour of the school prior to the official opening, staff were particularly impressed with the geometric shapes within the design, which are also reflected in the atrium through carefully planned décor and light that wells from the first floor. In fact, the headmaster himself commented on the eye-catching way the interior reacts with the external spaces, through the use of carefully placed windows and the clever design of the bespoke Proteus SC panels.

In addition to the modern teaching spaces, the new Ada Benson building also features a ground-floor atrium and café alongside a social hub and community space for hire. The external surroundings include a contemporary garden and new secure bike stalls, which are also clad in the perforated Proteus SC panels helping to carry the aesthetics of the façade further across the school grounds.  

For further information about Proteus SC or to view more inspirational rainscreen facades from Proteus Facades, visit: www.proteusfacades.com or call: 0151 545 5075.


  • Perforated Stainless Steel Cladding
  • Oxford High School Proteus SC
  • Oxford High School