St Johns Green Primary

A two storey, 10-classroom, newbuild Primary School in Colchester for 300 pupils to expand the existing school to 540 pupils over two sites. Procured through the Smarte East Framework for ECC, in association with Farrans Construction, LSI’s role included obtaining planning consent in Colchester's Garrison Conservation Area and meeting exacting area and cost targets, remaining involved though to completion.

Several aims were to be met in the design for this major expansion. The first was to create a single school over two sites; the second to achieve a highly efficient plan, maximising the space achievable within a tight budget; the third, to achieve planning consent for a large, new building within the Garrison Conservation Area.

The orientation of the linear building on a north-south axis, pointing towards the existing building, and the town centre, and the inclusion of a cross-axis connecting the public recreation area and the new main entrance with the playing field beyond, both serve to link the new facility into its context, and connect the two sites.

The building is comprised of ten classrooms arranged over two storeys, centred around a double height flexible learning area – the nucleus of a welcoming and inspirational learning environment. The highly compact plan exploits the necessary circulation to create a ‘heart space’ reflecting the hall in the existing building, and providing a ‘whole-school’ amenity. The plan, agreed prior to the publication of the Department’s ‘baseline designs’, proved uncannily prescient.

Externally the form is characterised by a continuous folding pitched roof and red brick elevations with expressed gables, closely following the function and layout of the compact internal plan. This is echoed in the surrounding classrooms, each of which is enlivened by the playful introduction of individually coloured window reveals. The accentuated gables and their associated brickwork detailing, refer to the existing buildings of the Garrison Conservation Area.