PLACE has recently received planning approval from Kent County Council for a New Line Learning Academy.

Sketch of the new academy
An example of the Academy's external learning spaces.

The Academy in Maidstone will accommodate 1,050 students and has been developed in response to the client’s approach, which focuses on creating educational environments that support and prepare students socially, physically and intellectually for a future market-based economy.

The layout of the academy has been developed with Jestico + Whiles Architects and creates an educational environment that is contemporary while responding to its surrounding rural context. The proposals use the language of a modern town square to create a central space that incorporates a feature lighting column and canopy. A network of paths radiate out from this central plaza providing site-wide connectivity.

Traditionally, the landscape of schools has been formed around simple elements, such as playgrounds, sports pitches and amenity areas. However, at New Line Learning Academy, the aspirations and educational system are reflected in the contemporary design of the campus and the quality of the finishes. The teaching method of large internal plaza spaces is reflected in the spill out spaces in the southern plaza. Each learning space consists of several simple elements including seating, trees, low shrubs and external canopies that break the plaza up into different learning spaces to facilitate discussion and social interaction. 

PLACE is presently taking the project through construction with a completion date for 2010.

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