About The Project
vHH were commissioned by Urban & Civic PLC to design a new primary school for their Houlton development in Rugby, which is a new residential scheme of up to 6200 new homes on the site of the former GPO international radio station.
St Gabriel’s Church of England primary school forms a key part of their Section 106 requirements. In order to meet their development programme, U&C elected to deliver the school themselves, in partnership with the Diocese of Coventry and Warwickshire County Council. The school is at the heart of the first phase of development at Houlton.
One of the key requirements of the brief was that it could be expanded as the community grows. Our design provides one form-of-entry in the first phase, including the key communal spaces and facilities, and adopts a modular design approach, allowing simple linked classroom blocks to be added as the school numbers grow. Ultimately it will provide three forms-of-entry.
The building is designed to have a strong civic presence, with a small pedestrian square framed by the taller roofs of the halls to establish a distinctive place in the new community. The surrounding landscape, designed by Bradley Murphy Design, will provide a safe and secure environment and excellent external learning environment. Every classroom has direct access to the outside play areas and sports facilities for the young pupils.
The internal areas have been carefully designed to create a range of comfortable, stimulating teaching spaces. Good acoustics, daylighting and natural ventilation provide appropriate learning environments throughout the school. Particular attention has been given to passive supervision, both internally and externally, which enables flexible and independent learning, good communication and sharing of resources between teachers and classes.
Headteacher Andrew Taylor, said:
“There are many aspects
of the building that are really outstanding and make this a lovely place to
work and educate. The comment I hear most is that the school has an incredible sense
of space and light. Even on a dull day our classrooms are flooded with natural
light, the full height windows, light wells, wide corridors and vision panels
all contribute to this. Our children, staff and families are all loving settling in
and making use of this fabulous building as they go about the business of
learning as a community"