The building design skillfully merges the accommodation requirements into the specific urban context of the site. It responds to the historic and cultural context, the canal environment and most critically the pedagogical needs of it’s pupils. The school design will provide the atmosphere where a child’s appetite for learning will be stimulated and their creative and academic potential will flourish.
Primary School can be a child’s first extended experience of social interaction outside the sanctuary of the home. This is a challenging and often overwhelming time for a young child. The architecture of the school building plays a significant role in easing the child’s journey from their early years environment to a place of belonging in their new, more complex, Primary School community. For many children school is also their first real experience of a sense of ownership of a communal or public building.
The architecture of the school therefore, must afford the child a sense of emotional security, allowing for the child’s gentle introduction to the challenging experiences of new social groups and interactions.
The classrooms are arranged around public spaces in ‘year’ clusters, sometimes grouped in pairs. A pupil’s journey through the school years progresses vertically up the building. This progression reflects the degree of independence gained as students advance though the years. The annual stepping stones begin at ground level and end on the top floor where the 6th class rooms peer above the canopy of canal trees. The pupils’ vista now stretches out towards the rooftops of the city to the wider world as they prepare to embrace the next phase of their educational journey.
The roof provides the main external spaces for the school including a ball court, an outdoor theatre/classroom as well as a vegetable and flower garden
The sixth class pupils enjoy their own private roof terrace – an outdoor common room allowing them a greater degree of independence and responsibility. Each graduating year will record their time at the school by engraving their names onto the timber screen that forms the perimeter of the 6th class garden.
The building will be detailed to minimise it’s impact on the environment and to ensure a healthy interior environment for the occupants. The building’s sustainable principles and technologies will be used as a teaching tool for the students to promote ideas of sustainability and protection of the environment from a young age. The students will engage with the environmental performance and behavior of the building initially through their experience of the rainwater harvesting and promotion of bio-diversity and later through the school’s classroom computer network which will be linked to the BMS to allow pupils to see and understand how the building’s energy efficiency systems are working and how energy is being generated, stored and used. Real time energy statistics will be displayed for all visitors on a LCD screen in the main entrance hall.