Design of new specialist teaching blocks for science, art and design technology
Brentwood County High School
This scheme was to demolish dilapidated buildings and replace them with two new specialist teaching blocks, one for science and another for art and design technology. We were appointed to design the new blocks to the perimeter of the site to form a new landscaped central courtyard, as well designing the refurbishment of existing buildings to ensure consistency of teaching provision and wayfinding across the school site.
The main block is an iconic, traditional style school building located to the front of the site. It acts as the main entrance, with all pupils and visitors expected to enter through the main central doors. It dates from 1926 and is considered a heritage asset.
The scheme also needed to be constructed in four phases to mitigate disruption to the school, which remained operational throughout the works.
To phase works and minimise disruption to the existing school over the three-year construction programme, our solution was to split the required teaching accommodation into two separate blocks.
Our designs satisfy the constraints of the site without creating awkward spaces or overshadowing existing facilities. We have improved site security by reducing permeability of the site to visitors and have provided new rationalised external spaces that connects the main teaching blocks.
We grouped subjects to optimise their location, such as by ensuring science rooms are located on the top floor with close adjacency to prep rooms and placing resistant materials on the ground floor with multi-materials store accessed directly off the car park to assist with deliveries.
We were able to provide opportunities for future adaptability with minimal disruption to the existing school. The steel frame structure with non-load bearing dry partitioning between spaces is easier to adapt than a concrete frame or traditional load-bearing masonry, allowing walls to be removed and spaces reconfigured without affecting the structure. The internal arrangement of interconnected faculties also gives a high level of flexibility.