An atrium and main
staircase are located
in the middle of the
the rectangular structure in what Willmott
Dixon’s project team describe as the ‘noisy
zone’, as this is where the extracurricular
activities will take place.
The ground floor of this zone houses the
main entrance, dining hall and kitchen,
while the first floor accommodates a
lecture theatre and IT suites.
These areas differ from the rest of the
school’s regular grid pattern, as each floor
has longer column-free spaces. The ‘noisy
zone’ is also higher than the rest of the
school building in order to accommodate
the necessary 7m floor-to-ceiling height
required by the second floor.
Having a sports hall on the uppermost
floor was a design feature born out of
necessity due to the lack of space and the
requirement for a single-building design.
Supported on the long span beams, the
sports and main hall, both have sprung
acoustically-treated floors, to negate any
vibration being felt in the rooms below.
“Having a sports hall at upper floor level
may cause problems with floor vibration
for longer span beams. However, to
minimise that effect, all of our beams were
designed to have a natural frequency not
less than 9Hz,” says Mr Tyszkiewicz.
The remainder of the school building
(accounting for approximately three
quarters of its length) is taken up by three
levels of classrooms.
The primary school will occupy
the ground floor and one-third of the
first floor. This part of the building is
mostly based around a regular 7.2m ×
7.8m column grid pattern, although the
classroom configuration and partition
walls do change between floors.
The primary school areas have more
toilets, while the upper levels’ secondary
school classrooms are slightly smaller
and have toilets located at the ends of the
“Using steel for the framing solution
has given the school added flexibility, as
partition walls could be removed in the
future if teaching requirements change and
larger classroom spaces were needed,” says
Occupying the middle of the classroom
block is a full-height atrium, with roof
lights allowing plenty of natural light to
penetrate the school’s inner zones.
Corridors on the first and second floors
overlook the atrium void, while a main
central staircase provides access to the
Adding further to the lightweight
nature of the project, the cladding chosen
for the school building is predominantly
brickwork with some curtain walling, as
both of these materials are reasonably
lightweight and will minimise the loadings
on the steel frame.
Steel tonnage: 250t
The main building is
“Steel is much faster to
erect compared to concrete,
and another advantage is
that it can be fabricated
off-site by professional
fabricators and delivered
on site as ready to fix