A ‘heart space’ was developed to encourage a sense of community for the school.
Birdwell Primary School formed part of North Somerset’s Primary Capital programme which due to pressure on local school places required the school to expand from 210 pupil places to 315. The aim of the design was therefore to retain the existing school as far as possible whilst extending, remodelling and refurbishing the building to meet the needs anticipated of 21st Century Learning.
The proposal was developed over a series of consultations with the school’s teachers, educational specialists, neighbours and children. The design included a series of new administrative / entrance spaces, 7 new classrooms, a number of associated teaching spaces and a “heart space” to adjoin the existing school hall with the new two-storey extension. This “heart space” was developed to encourage a sense of community for the school and create a multi-use space for group work, a library, and an extension to the school hall capacity when necessary. All classrooms have direct access to the outside though sliding doors, promoting external teaching and bringing the outside into the classroom. Natural ventilation is integral where wind-catcher units on the roof help ventilate these spaces.
The landscaping delivers a clear accessible site circulation, improved sports facilities through a new playground and three new sports pitches, and includes a number of outdoor teaching spaces such as vegetable plots and the existing woodland and pond. There is also an internal landscaped courtyard that visually connects the school interior and provides a reflective and relaxing space. Planning for the whole school site was achieved in early June 2010 and the phased construction process, in order for the school to operate during the building work, began in July 2010. The school was complete for the autumn term of 2011.
I was just so utterly delighted to see how a thought, a vision, a design, a build and a school full of the unexpected, vibrancy, life and sheer joy have come together and I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to you and everyone involved.
Andrea Sully, North Somerset Council