West Buckland School is one of the premier schools in the South West of England with an enrolment of 700 students. The new Art, Design and Theatre building was to replace the low quality existing buildings with new high-quality contemporary structures. The new building is located adjacent to the existing impressive Victorian main schoolhouse. A courtyard at the centre of the development linking the new and existing buildings provides a social gathering space and an outdoor performance facility.
The challenge was to develop an external scheme that would deliver the request for high quality, contemporary and environmentally considerate design within a limited budget.
Aesthetics, robustness and practicality form the conceptual background for the design and the construction process. The scheme was also focused at creating multifunctional spaces supporting opportunities for temporary events, socialising and daily outdoor activities to enhance the school environment.
The resulting development has a high quality and aesthetically pleasing external landscape which provides attractive open spaces and setting for the new building complex which cultivates social interaction and individual development at the heart of the campus.
Approximate Map Location
West Buckland School
|Type of scheme|
RIBA South West & Wessex award 2011
To provide full services for integrating the new Art &Theatre building complex into the existing school campus. This was to create multifunctional and varied spaces for use by the school as an outdoor teaching resource and social hub including appropriate access provisions and connection with existing circulation routes within the campus.
Architects: MRJ Rundell +Associates | Structural Engineers: Atelier One |M & E engineers: Ernest Griffiths| QS + CDMC: Gardiner & Theobald
In response to the stone facade of the existing Victorian school house and use of timber cladding, the predominant colour for external materials is kept to a range of grey nuances. Charcon Moordale paving slabs, French grey, are laid as the predominant surface material for the external circulation routes and courtyard area. Aco slot drainage channels have been used throughout the site in order to enhance the aesthetics and minimise the visual impact associated with surface drainage facilities. Marshalls Tegula concrete setts, Pennant Grey, have been laid at strategic areas as a response to the need to reduce the requirement for cutting. In fact, the vast majority of the setting out layout is a response to the aspiration of avoiding cutting any paving slabs and thereby achieving a uniform and neat appearance of the surface throughout the site. This is supported by the installation of bespoke steel edges, which contain the paving areas and define the drainage margins (grey granite chippings) running parallel to the building facades.Site and building level changes have been accommodated by feature steps consisting of bespoke pre-cast concrete step units (Minsterstone) with recesses for illumination. These provide an attractive visual appearance from both transient directions. Smaller level changes have been accommodated via installation of paving slabs which feather out and merge with the surface material to become integrated part of the paving pattern.
The planting scheme takes account of visibility, robustness and location associated with this particular environment and incorporates evergreen, herbaceous and deciduous plants, which demonstrate seasonal changes and encourage sensory stimuli.
Large areas of grass enable students and residents to use the immediate area around the building for passive recreational activities and enhance the landscape setting for the new building complex.
Main contractor: Pearce Construction Barnstaple Ltd