North Swindon Schools
Providing seven new schools on four sites is a condition of planning permission in a major residential extension to Swindon.
We were the structural engineers in a PFI consortium with Equion / Laing O’Rourke and ACP as architects, and worked on designs that balanced speed of construction with long term social expectations, for primary, secondary and special educational needs schools, so they cover all ages and range in size from a few dozen to a 1,300 pupil secondary school.
Despite the different requirements we worked on a common family of details and established which structural systems were most appropriate for each school. In single-storey buildings we pioneered a product called ‘big block’, consisting of large, modular calcium silicate blocks fixed with glue rather than mortar, from which one man and a small crane can build a full-height, 12 m-long load-bearing wall in one day. They also have good acoustic and thermal performance and work well for single-storey buildings, though the two-storey secondary school has a concrete frame to allow flexibility of accommodation.
Design of seven schools across several different sites and catering for a range of needs
Swindon Borough Council
£ 70 million