15 October 2010
Planning permission has been granted for an innovative new primary
school in Blackburn.
Working on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s
Children’s Services Department, Capita Symonds is providing a range
of multidisciplinary services – including architecture, structural
engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, landscaping,
cost consultancy, acoustics, project management, fire engineering,
planning and transport planning – on the two form, 420 pupil
The primary challenge of the scheme was the size of the existing
site at just 60 metres by 40 metres. In a bid to provide all
classrooms with direct access to a play space, the Capita Symonds
team utilised the topography of the site, allowing a three storey
solution to be achieved.
The project also comprises a single storey section offering a
rooftop play deck whilst the upper floor houses a mini-football
pitch. This design allows an additional 800sqm of useable area,
500sq more than is currently provided.
Located within a grid of terraced houses, one mile North West of
Blackburn town centre, the site is set within a thriving community
which has a large proportion of North Indian and Pakistani
population. The school design seeks to involve the local community
through the accessibility and flexible plan whilst providing a
secure an inspirational environment for the pupils.
The pivotal space in the school - the entrance hall - is focused
on a cascade of giant glazed steps, acting as a central gathering
space - a simple stopping point in the mornings, a special space
for learning, or even a small performance venue.
The cladding system, a series of patterned, mirrored and solid
perspex fins, allows the building to appear as a whole mass, whilst
exuding a playful mix of transparency and solidity and reflection
of the local context when viewed in passing.
The building has been designed for a fast track construction
period of approximately 52 weeks and employs the use of modular
construction methods on a steel frame with panelised facades.
A major achievement of the project so far is that scheme was
designed from initial instruction to a full planning application in
just six weeks with full planning permission being granted within
12. A full pattern of client meetings and three public consultation
events were held to support the planning application for the scheme
which has now been submitted for Building Regulations.
Capita Symonds has provided acoustics, fire risk engineering
and design services using the Autodesk Revit BIM (Building
Information Modelling) platform in a multi-disciplinary approach to
encourage modern ways of collaborative working. The work will now
be taken forward as a case study for Autodesk.