Now that the dust has settled we thought it would be useful to report on the Sellincourt Primary refurbishment project.
More on the scheme can be found here
The design intent was to develop an interior scheme that could be deployed throughout the main school building and possibly to Early Years in a phased programme of works. Part of the initial design consultancy time was used to develop an overall scheme for decorations which could be rolled out across the school as and when funds became available.
The building is a standard Victorian period school structure circa 1907 with interesting original features many of which have been preserved despite later modifications. It would be fair to say that the building has suffered in recent years from some unsympathetic building works which have cloaked, over-sailed and in some cases destroyed original features. There was thus the need for some TLC to reveal the architecture and bring the building back to an environment fit for learning.
The first phase of works was scheduled for Summer 2015 during the 6 week holiday period. The works included for most of the ground floor rooms with some exceptions and in particular a complete refurbishment of the two Year 1 classrooms.
The critical drivers for this first phase was to deliver a scheme that was on budget, on time and inspirational for staff and pupils when they returned.
It was an intensive building programme and we learnt quite a few lessons. The positives;
- We implemented weekly 2-3 hour progress meetings which were used to review and report on activities. Whilst a big time commitment these were vital to monitor and catch and mitigate issues.
- An HSE / general project file was assembled pre- commencement which was a useful reference during the scheme. This will be useful for future works.
- The appointment of Wandsworth Building Services was absolutely the right choice. The team were diligent, efficient and provided a superb service throughout the works period. A special mention must be made for our Site Agent without whom the programme targets might have been severely challenged.
- Refurbishment is a never ending journey – issues were uncovered during the works which had a negative knock on effect on the budget; some issues were parked to be addressed in the future.
- Demolitions were in general the simplest part of the works, making good afterwards required care and sometimes a light touch. For instance we scraped back loose paintwork on the radiators and repainted due to budgetary concerns; long term it might be better to refurbish the radiators properly and strip back to cast iron.
- The Year 1 classrooms were a great success. Removing the acoustic panelling, adding a suspended ceiling and new lighting have been transformative.
- The stripped parquet flooring in the East Hall show what can be achieved when we tackle the main hall. The parquet which is approximately 100 years old now looks like new. It’s a highly valuable floor finish.
- The removal of the original built in cupboards (a really difficult aesthetic decision – were we being vandals here) and re-decorations of the main hall have made a big difference.
- The building works have given us a good benchmark of which contractors/ sub contractors should be retained for future works.
- The resulting finish. Its transformed the Ground Floor spaces, rationalised circulation and made better use of rooms.
And the negatives or shall we say challenges!
- There was a lot of legacy wiring, equipment and evidence of patched up jobs which needed to be resolved before good progress could be made.
- We had to omit the Lobby partition works due to the combination of a high quotation and running out of time to seek alternatives. Next time we will need a much longer run up (say plans in place 2 months ahead of work start) to the building programme to avoid being penalised with inflated costs.
- A building works programme like this has a high impact and demand on individuals’ time. Much more than you think!
So that was the first phase completed. We’ve had a little bit of snagging, a short break and now we’re looking to raise the funds for Summer 2016 Phase 2. The journey continues …
We’ve been manufacturing these fabulous GRP seats for several years. The curving design allows for many different break out arrangements and they can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The Wave seat was shortlisted for the 2007 BdI ( Birmingham Design & Industry) Product Genius category. Almost 100 entries were submitted for the high profile awards scheme, which serves to recognise and celebrate the most inspirational building, environmental and product designs borne out of Birmingham and the West Midlands. The seat was also included in the Gold category for specifiers in Birmingham BSF programme.
Pictured is a 3D render showing a new module that is going to be added to the range giving even more connection possibilities.
Pricing for the Wave seat starts at £850 ex VAT per unit which reduces depending on order quantity. The full RAL spectrum is available for any quantity ordered.
More on this product here
We were recently asked to provide a summary of the principles that we used in developing the color scheme at Ysgol Y Gogarth for a case study that Akzol Nobel are producing. Below is an excerpt from our report;
The starting point for the scheme was to develop a colour palette which drew inspiration from the surrounding external Welsh landscape with the proximity of the sea, coast and mountains all within eyesight of the new school. This was linked to the focus that the school had on encouraging their pupils to get involved in numerous outdoor activities including climbing, skiing and canoeing. On my first visit to the old school I was struck by the outward looking ethos of the school and its daily approach of encouraging physical interaction with the landscape of the area.
There was a parallel dialogue with the school about how the internal finishes would influence and contribute to positive interaction with their pupils. One particular concern was that the school wanted the Ground floor (the entry point at the start of the start of the school day) to be a place of calm especially for their Autistic spectrum pupils for whom discordant colours and abrupt floor transitions would pose issues.
Another consideration was the wide spectrum of abilities within the school including those pupils with visual impairment needs as well as low levels of literacy. These factors were important when thinking about wayfinding within the new building as the use of signage would be limited as a consequence whereas the use of visual cues such as colour and texture would be emphasized.
As a result of considering all these elements the school was zoned into distinct thematic areas of ‘Sea’ for the Ground Floor and ‘Mountain’ for the First Floor with the ‘Forest’ acting as the transition points between those zones. Externally a ‘Coastal’ theme was used to bind together the various outdoor elements. A palette of shades of sea blues was used on the Ground floor to help develop a sense of calm whilst on the First floor stronger shades of mountain greens and purples were used to emphasise the energy and seniority of pupils as they progressed through the school.
Another guiding principle for the colour scheme was that all the end users would benefit from the scheme having a strong visual logic. A sense of repetition would be used to help locate people as they moved around the spaces. For instance aside from the differentiation between the ground and first floors, the core spaces such as offices and medical rooms were allocated their own core colour scheme. This was replicated across all the floors and was done to help confirm the differences and transition from and between pupil and administration spaces.
The scheme used the principle of feature wall colours contrasted with Wiltshire White on non feature walls. The feature wall colours were used partly as a tool for wayfinding; blocks of colors which guided people through the building, and also as a way of defining the various zones of the school. Within the stairwells large 6m high composite images of birch trees photographed at different times of the year were used to transition between the Ground and First floor. The principle staircase used by most people throughout the day combined a strong feature wall colour with a polycarbonate wall with seaweed graphics. Colour was used here to pull people up the stairs and onto the next floor.
Attention was paid to sightlines within the building. Although a relatively deep plan building the architects were able to maximize views out of the building towards the landscape. How many schools have a view of the coast at the end of a corridor? This principle of creating visual events was bound into the wall colour scheme; block colours were used to provide ‘destinations’ and ‘signposts’ to other parts of the building.
We’ve recently been appointed by Leicestershire County Council to develop the interiors for the Mount Grace/ Holliers Walk refurb primary school scheme. Its been interesting to reflect on the change in focus compared to schemes that we were delivering 10 years ago. Now wayfinding is the first thing that we develop alongside the colour palette. Conversations with the school about how the building will be used and the flow around the space are all key elements in creating a successful wayfinding scheme. Obviously in a primary school there isn’t much need for actual signage but using colour and graphics to zone areas is critical.
The initial elevations show some early thoughts but these will in time be developed much more fully into a coherent wayfinding scheme.
We’ve been working on a range of super graphic features for a new build health setting. These graphics are part of a design intent to create a welcoming space which references biophilic design principles – encouraging the merging of the outside with the inside in order to create a more harmonious and relaxed space.
This artwork is looking at ‘Flow’ as a theme and is arranged on panels of digitally printed material stretched onto aluminium extruded frames. ‘Flow’ is being used as a way of expressing ideas about the patient journey, design in nature, DNA and the transfer of positive energy.
Biophilic design principles are not a new trend and there is a growing awareness of the critical role that these principles can have in patient welfare. Here’s a study, Beyond Positive Distraction : Biophilic Engagement in Healthcare Spaces – Part 1, which talks through some of the data that has been collected around this issue.
There’s something very satisfying about distilling an idea and describing it as a series of lines and dimensions that others can then use to develop a price and method of manufacture.
We recently ran workshops with Y4 and 5 pupils at Sellincourt to think about and develop ideas for a large digital banner for the new school lobby.
The lobby is part of the refurbishment programme and will be remodelled to include (budgets permitting) a new glazed partition separating the main hall from the visitor holding area and a re-jigged Reception counter. The banner is based on a tree motif derived from existing Victorian ironwork in the school. Pupils drew lots of different trees and also the sorts of things that you might find in the branches. Measuring over 2 metres wide and 4 metres high it should make quite an impression on visitors!