The school embraces the concept of the school as a micro-city – a Learning City that features familiar urban devices.
Within the school building, pupils can interact with each other in various ‘urban’ environments; on streets, in a park, a courtyard. But equally the school provides a series of more intimate and private spaces where smaller groups or individuals can retreat to and work independently.
The Park forms the central nucleus of the school, the social core, it’s primary community space and central circulation area. The ‘Park’ is treated to feel semi-outdoors, paved and landscaped to feel like an urban space with extensive south-facing glazed screens opening onto the ‘Courtyard’. Students will circulate through the ‘Park’ going to classes, gathering for assembly and lunch. The ‘Park’ is busy, full of movement, yet also provides more intimate spaces, steps and corners for small groups to form or where individuals can study. The wall of the centrally located music room slides open to form a proscenium for an audience within the ‘Park’. The PE hall runs parallel to the ‘Park’ and the central section of wall between the two spaces is constructed from an open mesh screen, similar to a ball court in a city park, encouraging pupils to watch sports and support players, attracting pupils to join in games.
The ‘Courtyard’ is enclosed on three sides and open to the south, it’s part paved, part landscaped ground surface acts as an outdoor extension of the ‘Park’. The ‘Courtyard provides a secure and clearly defined outdoor play and teaching area as well as providing an extension of the social core. A lightweight retractable allows the courtyard space be used in all weathers– encouraging external teaching, outdoor assembly, performances, screenings, sports activities, gardening and a visual attractive central garden core – an incubator space for nature and education.
The two legs of the U shaped plan form the classroom wings, or Streets. All the general classrooms within the Streets are south-east facing and full of morning sunlight, some of which is transmitted to the corridors through part clear, part obscure glazed walls – providing a degree of transparency and openness between the classroom and the wider school community. Each group of three general classrooms will share a dedicated social space, where individual student lockers line the perimeter walls and informal seating areas allow small groups to gather and socialize, lounging on comfortable seating, exchanging stories, where students work together in small groups or individually outside classroom hours. Each social area will have a large bay window with study desk, each will also have a display recess facing the corridor where students can present projects and achievements to the school community.