Award winning school extension.

St Mary’s required two new classrooms to provide for their projected increase in pupil numbers. However, the arrangement of the school site meant that the new classrooms were separate from the existing buildings. We therefore incorporated a linking canopy to the original school building and conscientiously landscaped the space between old and new to make it a positive, rather than necessary, design choice.

As with all of our school projects, the scheme required collaboration with the school, the land owner and the local community in the form of a public exhibition and consultation. We regularly undertake this work and make it a meaningful process by presenting plans at appropriate times (such as the ‘feasibility’ or building design stages) and by analysing the feedback we receive. At St Mary’s, our design and modelling skills were used during consultation. This showed that, despite their differences, the scale of the new classrooms and the selection of the materials complemented the original coursed rubble stone building.

Also, the school expressed their desire early on to reduce their energy demands. The technical design of the new classrooms could therefore integrate natural lighting and natural ventilation – these features are not easily added to a design because classrooms require that rigorous internal environmental conditions are met throughout the day independent of changing weather. The school has found since that the building serves as a great example of environmental design within the children’s lessons.

The scheme was completed in July 2017, and won a BANES Building Control design award in 2018.