Start: 2014. Completion: 2017. Contract Value: Undisclosed. Contract Type: New Build

Following a number of successfully delivered projects for the Stephen Perse Foundation, Chadwick Dryer Clarke were appointed by SPF to consider a new master-plan for their senior school site in central Cambridge which addressed the need to extend their facilities.

CDC spent a number of weeks with SPF to clarify the school’s brief and consider the wider context of this sensitive urban site. After forming a site model of the school site, CDC explored options via sketch models and 3-dimensional massing proposals. These clarified the feasibility of a new building on the site that combined sport facilities with new classrooms and social learning spaces.

Developing the proposals with SPF’s appointed design team, staff and governors, the design was reviewed pre-planning application by Cambridge City Council and its officers. This process enabled a sensitive refinement of the proposals which were consulted widely with pupils, parents, staff and neighbours, with ideas fed-back into the design. The character of the conservation area was a key issue, and CDC’s proposals had to be particularly respectful of this.

The solution proposes ten new classroom and learning spaces housed in two storeys over the top of a new sports hall. The classrooms are arranged around a series of break-out social spaces that encourage informal learning and group collaboration. Adjacent to the teaching and learning spaces lies a new rooftop Multi-Use-Games-Area. This provides an open-air sports pitch suitable for a number of sports, all screened for privacy and safety. Accessed from an external staircase linking to the newly landscaped grounds of the school, this provides an opportunity for pupils to be active at break-times and as timetabled during lessons.

The sports hall is a four-court space which provides an excellent arena for badminton, netball and gymnastics as well provide a location for whole-school assemblies and examinations. Adjacent to the hall, support facilities such as changing rooms and equipment stores are housed. The sports hall is recessed into the basement, with high-level viewing balconies and windows providing excellent daylight and opportunities to watch the events below.

A new entrance is formed from Union Road, which provides a break in the street-front and signifies the junction of the new building with the existing Panton House. A new courtyard is formed at this break, forming an intimate and beautifully landscaped space for study and relaxation. The building is articulated in carefully detailed brickwork, bronze cladding and timber, with large areas of glazing contributing to a naturally ventilated building. Combined with a high-performance envelope, efficient MEP systems and new connections to adjacent school buildings, the new building provides sustainable new facilities to support SPF’s excellent teaching and learning.

The project was completed in autumn 2017.

Photographs by Richard Chivers



concept sketches

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