Beachborough School has an outstanding reputation for delivering a broad curriculum that is both rigorous and creative. With this diversity, generations of Beachborough pupils have acquired skills that have helped shape their careers and Design Technology has always been popular. Recent capital expenditure at Beachborough had not benefitted the DT Department and coupled with the increased profile of both ICT and Cooking, the DT room had almost been forgotten.
On the back of another successful local community project, Hayward Smart Architects were invited to prepare a design for a new DT Suite on the site of the existing department. The brief was to provide a state of the art facility, which would exceed the requirements of the national curriculum and reflect the school’s ambition to be at the forefront of best practice in teaching, allowing it to engage with local engineering businesses.
The old DT Suite formed part of the old stable block courtyard, accessed via a gated entrance. The classroom formed 1 side of the courtyard but it was very narrow, out of date and not really suitable for its function. The courtyard was also a fairly soulless space, dominated by cars.
The solution consists of a high quality and functional workshop extension connected to the current building, extending sympathetically into the courtyard. The form of the new building is influenced by the scale and proportions of the existing buildings. Steeply sloping pitched slate roofs are a key feature. Exposed timber trusses are expressed internally, complimented by exposed brickwork to give an industrial character. Light penetrates deep into the plan via rooflights in the north slopes of the new roof. A large overhang and brise soleil structure on the dominant gables give solar shading to the large expanse of glazing.
Either side of the central space there are lower flat roofed elements. To the entrance side there is an exhibition space with clear views through to the workshop. The other side provides a link to separate the new and existing roofs. Gently curved timber clad walls to the entrance space lead you into the courtyard and soften the relationship with the other buildings. Large sliding doors from the DT Suite allow the space to spill out into the courtyard where a raised water feature allow pupils to experiment with floating inventions.
Externally, the granite setts of the courtyard have been laid to follow the main circulation routes through this space, creating an interesting pattern.
The building has a ‘fabric first’ approach to sustainability. Highly insulated construction with quality materials has limited the need for expensive ‘green’ technologies. Good natural lighting and natural ventilation have created a good working environment. Underfloor heating negates the need for radiators within this highly functional space.
Winner of AVDC Best Public Building Award 2018.
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