This innovative school design possibilities for the school to deliver a more flexible curriculum and creating a high quality and stimulating learning environment, we believe that the architecture can improve everyday experience of using the school for pupils and staff.
We were shortlisted for this new primary school located on a rural site in Shropshire with a multidisciplinary contractor led team. The design developed not only from the belief that a school should provide high quality spaces for learning but also that it should feel like an extension of the community within which it is located. This concept drove the design of the masterplan for the site and resulted in the inclusion of a new public square and village green at the heart of the scheme creating spaces for local people to come together and for community events to be held.
The key categories of “The School Within the Community”, “Form and Materials” and “The Spaces Within the School” were identified within the tender process as being of particular importance to the stakeholders; their thoughts and feelings were considered from first principles to create a design that was responsive to the needs of the wider school community.
Emerging models of learning environments require the design to allow for flexibility, both in the short and longer-term. Our design was developed to allow manipulation and transformation by adults and children alike, to be open to different modes of use. Nursery and reception area are linked via a foundation stage piazza which can accommodate wet play and increase interaction between different age groups of the children.
Sustainability was a key element of the project brief. We led the design team in developing a holistic approach to form, orientation and materials which enabled the design to surpass the minimum requirement to a pre-assessment BREEAM for School rating of ‘Excellent’ A hybrid concrete frame and timber structural system allowed the design to utilise the advantages of high thermal mass together with the benefits of speed of construction and environmental performance of a timber frame solution.
Aspect and orientation were carefully considered to allow the building to take advantage of natural ventilation and controlled daylight in combination with imaginative artificial lighting to create comfortable and enjoyable spaces for studying and working whilst optimising the environmental performance of the school during its whole lifetime.
A Biomass wood-fuel boiler system was chosen due to the readily available supply of fuel. Rainwater collection and harvesting was incorporated to further minimise energy consumption and reduce discharge into the surrounding rural habitat. In addition, solar thermal energy was identified as an additional option for the provision of hot water and heating within the building.