This new secondary school for 1,600 children replaces an existing split-site school for historic Minster. An 8 metre wide internal street provides a ‘heartspace’ conceived as a focus for the school’s identity and the location for banks of personal lockers.
The drama studio and assembly hall are located directly off the heartspace, opposite a large learning space, which can all be flexibly combined together by means of moveable walls to accommodate the diverse needs of small groups, year groups, or the whole school.
These spaces are easily accessible and available for use by the outside community providing much needed quality resources for the town. Transparency is emphasised, maximising views within the building and out into the landscape.
The interiors are neutral with natural and raw materials throughout including brick and timber. Extra special details were added through bespoke lockers designed by P&P and the students that reflect the local area and the school’s specialisms in music and humanities, and the chapel space where our team collaborated with artist Chris Wight to create the stunning 12m2 pair of doors made of bone china and glass.
Thermal mass combined with nighttime cooling assist in maintaining stable temperatures. An effective, integrated, low energy design strategy sees all classrooms orientated north/south and cross ventilated through large windows to external façade and ventilation chimneys internally controlled by the Building Management System (BMS) with manual override.
A prefabricated timber panel ‘breathing wall’ construction is used for the classroom wings and materials were selected for their high recycled content and low toxicity and all timber was FSC approved.
The school provides a genuine community resource for the town and an inspiring educational environment for the 21st century, and won the 2009 RIBA Sorrell Foundation School Award.