Dr Millan Sachania
On 15th May 2018, the Royal Institute of British Architects honoured the team behind the stunning new dining hall, lobby and wildflower meadow roof that opened last month in Abbotswood Road to make SCHS even more of a London landmark. The project, which was commissioned by the Girls’ Day School Trust, was designed by Cottrell and Vermeulen Architecture and constructed by Rooff Limited, benefiting from painstaking oversight from SCHS’s own Estates Bursar, Mary Kpobie. The brief and vision for these new facilities were conceived by Dr Millan Sachania, the school’s Head Master from 2012 to 2022. Dr Sachania asked the architects to create a modern inspiring space that was unapologetically single-purpose serving the needs of the whole girl, making our school stand out from the rest.
Dr Sachania comments: ‘Goethe claimed that “architecture is frozen music”, but I disagree. Architecture inspires movement and is a dynamic force; such fluid power is precisely what I wanted harnessed for the benefit of SCHS girls.’ The Head Master explained that it’s essential to promote both well-being and serenity as well as a sense of excitement and intellectual stimulation in order to nurture excellence at our school. He added, ‘by creating a lively and aesthetically pleasing dining space we are reminded of the importance of community as well as the need to be, literally, well-nourished whilst also feeding girls’ minds and souls with ideas, conversation and friendships.’
He continued ‘The Sixth Form is the literal summit of SCHS. It provides both comfort and community as well as grand, inspiring vistas and unique perspectives that we cherish and promote here. I am almost as proud of this building as I am of the girls inside it!’
In April, the opening of the facilities was celebrated with the Chief Executive of the GDST, Cheryl Giovannoni, and GDST Chair of Trustees, Juliet Humphries, as well as a range of other dignitaries. SCHS alumna and globally-acclaimed architect, Elsie Owusu OBE introduced the celebrations whilst also celebrating the role of women in architecture and encouraging the girls to pursue careers in the field. Dr Sachania also received the letters patent for the school’s coat of arms, presented by an officer of arms of the College of Arms, Rouge Croix Pursuivant.
In addition to boasting a meadow and wildflower roof that is especially supportive to bees as part of the precious ecosystem of the adjacent Tooting Bec Common, the school’s new facilities are amongst the most environmentally friendly and efficient in south-west London, making our school truly stand out.
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