Paxman Academy

“The building takes my breath away, it’s stunning.” – Mrs Moffat, Head Teacher at Paxman Academy

The Brief:
Located on the Alderman Blaxill Secondary School site which closed in 2014; the brief was to complete a new 6FE, 900 pupil place secondary school (including the BB103 external areas) by September 2019.

Careful consideration of the existing structure and location of the new building were key. The brief included demolition of the old school as part of the works, plus a 6,200m² area to the east of the existing site had to be excluded from the new school site. The BB103 analysis therefore had to be adjusted accordingly.
Planning issues to overcome included:
– Impact on allocated private open space
– Highway and transport impacts
– Design quality – impacting on character/ appearance of the area
– Evidence of local educational need

The Scope:
Commissioned by Barnes to develop a proposal based on the brief, to be incorporated into their tender bid for Essex County Council. Following their award, our Architectural and Landscape disciplines were commissioned by Barnes throughout RIBA stages 3 to 6. Assisting Barnes with all aspects of the project; attending pubic consultation events and pre-planning consultation during stage 3, and presenting the interior design scheme to the Academy during stages 4 and 5.

The Result:
A state-of-the-art building arranged over three distinct components; the sports hall, the teaching wings and the administration and shared spaces block. The strong front elevation allows separate sports/ community and main entrances. The sports hall sits at the front of the site with the administration and shared spaces block, whilst the classroom wings sit behind the secure line to the rear.

This positioning generated a net gain to the quantity of open space; allowing existing tennis courts and vehicular entrances to be re-used. As the building is set back, any impact of the building height on the street scene is limited and in-keeping with the scale of the site, without causing sprawl. The landscaping around the building ensures a successful approach to the wider site.

Procured through a D&B tender; we were selected by Barnes to collaborate based on their previous experience working with us on traditional projects. We presented added value when modelling their required information in our ArchiCAD model; providing information in 3D, which their M&E consultants were unable to do. Having this information allowed us to identify any clashes with the other elements of the building.