Our building

Ever wondered about the KSA building?

The building certainly has many unusual features, but did you know it is a Grade II* listed building and a landmark in school design?

  • Marylebone Lower House (now King Solomon Academy) was built as Rutherford school for 780 boys, as part of the London County Council's secondary school building programme. A model was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1958. The structure was designed to be built very quickly, and was innovative in its use of large precast elements.
  • The main teaching building on Penfold Street was designed 1958 and built 1959-60 by Leonard Manasseh.
  • The upside-down pyramid on the roof is a slate-clad water tank.
  • The pyramid motif continues in the centre of the slate roof in the main hall.
  • The foyer is lined in Carrara marble, with lined marble floor and timber ceiling. There is a plaque on the wall by the entrance to the Junior School which tells you more about the special marble.
  • The sculpture in the foyer is by Hubert Dalwood is an integral part of the original building. It is called The Tree of Knowledge.
  • The varnished concrete and tiled surfaces along the corridors were designed to be 'boy-proof'!
  • The sixth form commons was originally the library and features an angled coloured glass window designed to catch the evening sunlight and with marble shelf.

Architectural acclaim

Leonard Manasseh considers this to be one of his most successful works, and it is certainly one of the most important, by an architect who was also a noted teacher and planner. Michael Marland, a previous headmaster of the school, has called the building `distinguished in concept and finish, with a very good sense of relationship to terraces in the area but with an unusual structure itself. For the local historian Jack Whitehead it is `a piece of sculpture, perpetually altering as one walks through it, functional and exhilarating at the same time.' The Architectural Review considered it `a new and important private contribution to the enrichment of educational architecture.' Every detail of the school is carefully considered, firmly composed and combined imagination with practicality. Though innovative structurally, the school eschewed gimmickry in favour of a particularly humane environment. It marks a high point in the development of secondary school design.

Follow this link to learn more about what makes our school special on the outside as well as the inside!