Sheffield City Council’s “Building Schools for the Future” programme presented BDP with an exciting, and ultimately rewarding challenge. Situated on the edge of a green belt, the OFSTED categorised “Outstanding School”, serving young people with a range of communication / interaction difficulties including autistic spectrum disorders, was originally housed within buildings spanning the 18th to 21st century on a site that comprised both mature and specimen trees alongside nature rich habitats.
BDP were advised that the combination of these unique qualities required enhancement, improvement and development, maintaining the character of the site whilst replacing outdated accommodation with a new building that would allow the school to grow, yet keep the sense of identity and belonging forged by the student body.
The solution to this complex conundrum has seen the creation, by VINCI Construction UK, of a three storey, timber clad structure, which provides a link between the existing historic residence and the now fully refurbished and renovated 1960s’ classroom block. Differing arrangements of the Scotlarch® timber cladding add subtle yet definitive interest to the appearance of the new school building, and give it a crisp and modern feel. With additional cladding adorning areas of the renovated buildings, the result is a tranquil transition between the contrasting materials that have been utilised throughout the centuries.
BDP’s fresh design has gifted Bents Green with a contemporary new look that enhances the school’s link with the surrounding woodland. Allowing the timber to weather naturally will highlight the changes that nature brings with the passing of time, whilst the Scotlarch® timber cladding that has been continued into the internal reception area is protected from this weathering process, showcasing the changing effects that time and environment has on the building. In essence, the very building the students occupy provides them with an intrinsic educational lesson, and it is this depth of care taken when considering the re-design of this school that has ensured the success of the project.
Russwood was chosen to supply the timber after a personal recommendation regarding not only our quality of products, but also our quality of service and technical expertise. We can however state that, as delighted as we are for this level of compliment, that delight is eclipsed by knowing we have contributed in some small way to helping bring this incredibly beautiful school into being.
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A selected grade of Scottish Larch which is locally-sourced
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