Congratulations to our Schools and Universities teams who secured four award wins and one Highly Commended at last night’s Education Estates ceremony. Here are the two projects which have made 2021 a stand-out year.
The Deaf Academy
The Deaf Academy, a new school in Exmouth for Deaf young people, picked up three awards as well as being Highly Commended in the Project of the Year (Schools) category:
- Client of the Year
- Inclusive Learning Spaces for all
- Pupil/Student Experience
We worked alongside an inspiring client to create a world-leading educational facility which includes a state-of-the-art teaching hub, residential block and refurbished theatre.
The design was developed in line with DeafSpace standards, and the latest technologies in Deaf education, to create spaces honed to the needs of visual communication.
We engaged extensively with the students and staff to understand their unique needs and daily challenges. These engagements earned us valuable insights into the way Deaf people’s experience of learning, communicating using sign language, privacy, acoustics and safety are critically mediated by the physical environment.
The result is a ground-breaking design where Deaf young people can communicate freely, have visual connectivity with their peers, teachers and carers, and strengthen their identity as Deaf people.
“The development of the design for the new Academy buildings as inclusive and “Deaf Friendly” spaces has been a fascinating and extremely rewarding process. We have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge – it has been inspiring to work on a project that will improve the lives of students and enhance their learning outcomes.”
Health and Life Sciences, University of Reading
Our Health and Life Sciences Building, a new-build home for the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences, took the award for Innovation in Delivering Value.
Our brief was to design a new building that provides flexible, future-resilient teaching and research laboratory space.
The new multi-purpose building houses the Departments of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Biomedical Science, and Bioinformatics. It comprises a central atrium featuring a café and the University’s Cole Museum of Zoology, with spectacular displays that include a False Killer Whale and the skeleton of a large elephant.
A ‘superlab’, which can seat 280 students at once, occupies the ground floor with a sophisticated AV system that ensures all students can see and hear the lecturer. When classes are smaller, the space can be easily subdivided into several configurations.
The upper floors are dedicated to research, with space for over 200 researchers and 50 academics. The design promotes a shared asset culture with expensive equipment placed in central locations for use by all researchers.
“The innovative design of the super-lab and flexibility of space provides the ultimate student experience, whilst delivering value for the University. It is designed with the building’s whole life in mind and has already proven that it can adapt to meet new pedagogies and Covid-19 working protocols.”