Challenge

The proposed school building was required to be functional, durable and safe, whilst providing an inspiring environment to aid the pupils educational and social development. It needed to respond sensitively to the constraints of the site and the surrounding residential built space, whilst acknowledging local and national planning policy.

Solution

Sprunt Architects’ use of materials combines clever design with a limited palette of materials, combining high quality standard and multi-hued glazed brickwork to deliver a building that is at once both stimulating and unique.

With teaching and support accommodation divided across two storeys, the architects have included a high-walled, multi-use, rooftop playspace, which allows the building to be read as a three-storey building.

Stretcher-bonded Ibstock Bricks’ sandcreased Bradgate Medium Grey brickwork is used to deliver a linear, brickwork ‘box’ which acts as a neutral canvas for modification. Cut-outs at ground- and first-floor level are utilised alongside St. Joris glazed brickwork to deliver the impression of a brightly-coloured building underlying the buff façade.

Announcing the double-height curtain-walled entrance at the south-east corner of the building, a deep canopy is clad in stretcher-bonded yellow-glazed brick, progressing northward across the eastern elevation through shades of yellow, green and blue within a covered ground-floor walkway.

At first-floor level, two further ‘cut-outs’ create a terrace spaces within the frontage, while a varied fenestration pattern and the introduction of different sized recessed panels of glazed brickwork and similarly-sized vertical timber slatwork, within the perimeter wall of the rooftop playspace, ensures dynamism throughout while increasing shading, privacy and noise attenuation.

The west elevation, fronting Putney Common, consists primarily of immaculately-executed Bradgate Medium Grey brickwork with a more regular rhythym of cut-out terraces which provide additional playspace at first floor level and which are complemented above by additional timbered voids. A series of four sculptural ‘windcatcher chimneys’, sit flush with the façade, adding rooftop interest and serving to break up the length of the elevation whilst providing natural ventilation to interior classroom spaces.

High performance fabric specification, alongside the inclusion of low-energy lighting, solar photovoltaic panels at roof level and other low carbon technologies, have seen the building awarded a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’, ensuring a stimulating and sustainable learning environment with a clear identity that positively enhances the appearance and utility of the surrounding historic environment.

Architect: Sprunt Architects and Durkan Construction

Brick Type(s): Bradgate Medium Grey; St Joris Glazed bricks (8 shades blending across building)

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