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Elegans - Classroom - Northampton

Client Name:

Wooton Primary School

Requirement

Like so many schools the population of this one is growing and real estate had become a critical issue. Create additional classroom space is a growing challenge, not least to do it within the bounds of Planning and Building Control and within budget. This dedicated head teacher and the governors with their wealth of commercial savvy required a fit for purpose classroom, built to last, spacious and secure and economical to run. It was hoped the design could include an undercover area to provide protection from the elements, for waiting children or those playing outside. Originally two building proposals were submitted for planning consent but only the one seen in these photographs was approved, the other being deemed inappropriate for reasons relating to its proposed build site.

Our Solution

Garden Spaces on behalf of the school arranged for our architect to submit the planning applications and manage the process through to decision. Our associates PWC dealt with the building control element of the project. In addition our build team liaised closely with the school’s own Facilities Management Company who took responsibility for additional fire safety related installations. Finding additional suitable space within a school, on which to build, can prove difficult. The site on which we built this classroom was no exception. It was an awkward configuration of relatively redundant sloping ground, under a tree, making it unsuitable for a conventional construction. Garden Spaces carried out considerable work to level and prepare the area prior to installing the classroom. Our buildings are expertly constructed using SIPs (structured insulated panels). These panels, which form the sides, ceiling and floor, are incredibly rigid and highly thermally efficient having no cold bridging points. They sit on concrete pile foundations capped with rubber pads. The whole structure is further insulated with a waterproof membrane, battens and secretly fixed solid wood cladding, in this instance kiln dried western red cedar. This wood is exceptionally durable, with knot free fine grain and warm honey tones. It can be oiled yearly or left to silver but either way it is essentially maintenance free and will last a life time. The roof finish is equally robust covered by a join free continuous sheet of EPDM rubber (guaranteed for 20 years). The high performance glazing bolsters the structure’s thermal efficiency still further. The result is a stand-alone building that can be maintained at an appropriate ambient temperatures all year, with minimal energy consumption. The most striking features of this design has to be the fabulous roof overhang that affords protection from the elements and the expanse of non-slip composite decking. This decking was carefully installed to ensure it sits flush with the internal flooring. This not only minimises threshold trip hazards but effectively doubles the available classroom area when weather permits. Children love to learn outside and those hungry brains benefit from the oxygen boost of fresh air. How fabulous to create that by simply sweeping back the bi-folding doors and letting the outside in.