Somersham Primary School

The Brief: Somersham Primary School is a four classbase, 105 place community school. Two of the four classbases were accommodated within a dilapidated temporary building, the condition of which was extremely poor and liable to fail. The client asked for the old unit to be removed and disposed of, to be replaced by a higher quality Suffolk County Council owned unit.

The Scope: The scheme commissioned was for the design and construction of a new two-storey building providing four additional class bases and a studio hall.

With functionality in mind, the design ensured that administration and infrastructure areas supported ease of movement and created an easy flow through the primary school. Consultation with the planners and the desire to be sympathetic to the site and local buildings led to the use of red brickwork and slate roof for the main teaching element.

The fully coordinated design was developed in-house using several innovative technologies. ArchiCAD 17 was used to design the project as whole, with all design disciplines making use of ArchiCAD and hotlinked models. This approach allowed the project to be successfully co-ordinated. Point cloud surveys were used to provide detailed elevations to provide information required for the planners. High quality visuals and a fly-through using CGI technology were produced.

The design of the circulation space and studio hall gives a lesser presence with a lower flat roof and the use of curtain glazing to provide a visual separation between the two main parts of the development.

The Result: The new accommodation is filled with light, with the façade providing an intriguing modern contrast to the original adjacent Victorian school. The internal spaces work well and provide first class teaching and learning spaces for the children.

The use of a two-storey red brick gable end recognises the existing building forms, whilst the design for the glazing demonstrates a modern interpretation that will enable the site to age without the different extensions conflicting with each other.