Merchants’ Academy is a city academy designed to provide a unique and specialised learning environment, including a sixth form for 1,150 secondary pupils. Sponsored by the Merchants’ Academy Trust, the academy is based on a distinctive vision for the school as a learning village.
Developed using a strong organisational diagram, the design fuses internal and external spaces, and features a central cloistered courtyard with a variety external teaching and social areas. Each pair shares a teaching garden and a glazed entrance, creating a visual link between the cloister and the garden.
The pavilions provide flexible and adaptable teaching space with an emphasis on open plan independent learning areas. The entrance block on the fourth side of the courtyard houses the assembly hall, drama studio, learning resource centre, careers centre, dining space and administration offices. Sliding partition walls between the assembly hall, dining hall and drama studio can be opened to create one large space in the heart of the school.
Merchants’ Academy has an effective, integrated, low energy design strategy. Thermal mass combined with nighttime cooling assist in maintaining stable temperatures.
Classrooms are orientated north/south and are cross ventilated through large windows to external façade and ventilation chimneys internally. The high level windows and chimneys are automatically controlled by the Building Management System (BMS) while windows at low level are manually operated. Materials used internally were selected for their low toxicity and all timber was FSC approved.
BREEAM rating of Very Good.