A masterplan for a new Academy and site developed to meet the educational and spatial requirements of the Sponsors’ brief: accommodation for 1,100 pupils including 200 Sixth Form students which provides a strong school and departmental identity, rationalisation of teaching spaces, provision of a heartspace, better internal/external connectivity, a new LRC, improved lighting and thermal quality of spaces. Ideas were developed through extensive consultation with students and staff. Additional issues identified included circulation, branding, and provision of new social spaces.
Initial studies showed that the majority of accommodation could be fitted into the existing building envelope, limiting the extent of new build required, and freeing funds to tackle issues of site entrance legibility, heartspace and solar gain problems.
A base scheme was identified along with a ‘shopping list’ of additional items enabling the clients to evaluate and prioritise in line with their developing educational vision. These included performance spaces, an external cloistered walkway, sliding classroom doors, green roofs, and an internet style café. Landscaping is crucial in stitching the scheme together and features a range of spaces for external learning and social interaction, rationalisation of circulation and access, innovative and practical planting and an external heartspace.