In January 2019, DKA were appointed by Skanska as lead designer for a new three form entry (3FE) primary school with a nursery in Hengrove, Bristol. The aspiration for the project is driven by the ethos of the school which is to combine the infants and juniors into a single building to provide a holistic learning experience which encourages collaboration between year groups. This is particularly important between the Nursery, Reception and Year 1 classes. The project achieved its planning consent and construction commenced in October 2020. The first phase was handed over at Christmas 2021, followed by the demolition of the original school buildings and new playing fields in early 2022.
Perry Court Primary School
Holistic learning experience encourages collaboration between year groups
The design uses timber frame with minimal steel elements. The building is sited on the southern portion of the existing playing field, maintaining the operation of the school during construction, and then allowing demolition of the old buildings. No site area was earmarked for disposal. Unusually for a school of this size, due to the size and landscape of the site, the entire building is able to be single storey which means that all classrooms have direct access to outside play space, and benefit from a significant amount of natural light.
The site perimeter has been designed to be more permeable to encourage more parents to walk their children to school and to encourage those who do drive, to park in a local car park in order to decrease the pressure on local roads at drop-off and pick-up times. Cycling is to be encouraged for pupils and staff through the provision of more than 80 secure, well-lit cycle spaces and shower facilities within the school building. The site benefits from a wooded tree-line to the south and west, which provides something of a barrier to the road noise from nearby Oatlands Avenue. This re-arrangement of the site means the school will be located closer to this wooded area which is to become a ‘forest school’ encouraging pupil engagement with the ecology on the site. 92 new trees will also be planted to supplement this already wooded site.
The two school halls and the connecting social area will be the key spaces for the new school building. These spaces form one end of the spine which links to the Library, the Head-teacher’s Office, Technology Room and the Staff Room. The building is designed to be highly energy efficient; the ventilation is to be largely natural supplemented by NVHR (Natural Ventilation Heat Recovery) units which extract air from the classrooms and mix it with incoming air to provide tempered fresh air. A significant portion of the roof is to be covered in photovoltaic panels in order to offset the operational energy use and the building envelope is highly insulated to minimise heat loss.
Andy became Education Associate within the practice in 2003. He places a strong emphasis on consultation, believing that engagement with stakeholders maximises the potential value of a project to school and community and can also be an educational, inspiring and enjoyable process in itself. This approach results in buildings that are not only visually and spatially exciting, but also finely tuned to users’ needs and aspirations. As a qualified DQI Facilitator, he also runs independent consultation events on projects designed by others.