This project involved the refurbishment and expansion of six secondary schools in Kent. Our challenge was to install new teaching and recreational facilities with minimal disturbance to users of the existing school buildings.
Working with the architects, we developed a steel-framed structural system for almost all the new buildings involved. Modular units were designed in varying shapes and sizes, depending on their function. Flat roofed, with a maximum height of two storeys and clad using a proprietary cladding system, they were able to be slotted in and around existing structures with speed and efficiency.
Once the new structures were in place, old buildings were demolished or refurbished according to the needs of each school. We also engineered double-height gym facilities in loadbearing brickwork.
A series of covered exterior walkways permit ease of circulation from one teaching area to the next. Elegantly designed, the canopied walkways link the school buildings diagonally across the site.
The building services solution we provided for six secondary schools focuses on the reduction of whole life energy costs: our self-imposed target for energy performance was 33% better than best practice.
The new buildings, which were introduced to existing school campuses before older buildings were demolished, are largely standardized units. Our services strategy followed the same logic: we devised modular power and heating plantrooms to serve each of these standardized 'learning barns' individually. This strategy allowed us to use technology that is almost domestic in scale, reducing maintenance complexity and avoiding extended distribution systems.
Plant rooms were designed with the input of a prefabrication specialist and assembled off site, arriving for installation fully tested and commissioned.
Windows are manually operated with an automated upper louvre to deliver night-time cooling. Working with an acoustician, we were able to specify optimal glazing for a natural ventilation strategy that avoids overheating in summer while remaining within the acoustic parameters laid down in BB93.