Kendall Kingscott was appointed by Wiltshire Council (RIBA Stages 1-7) to design a new primary school within the King’s Gate development area in Amesbury. The brief called for the development of a 1.5FE 10-classroom school with a master plan to allow its expansion to become 2FE 14-classroom school as demand for places increased.
One of the challenges of this project was the requirement to work within a strict Design Code for the King’s Gate development area, which meant materials and massing had to be in accordance with the design code. Due to the school’s status as a key building within the wider masterplan, high quality materials such as flint walls, were stipulated. Another challenge, which was overcome, was ensuring the infrastructure and key spaces for a 2FE school could be delivered within a tight budget for a 1.5FE school. This was because the funding allocation was based on a per-pupil calculation. Some spaces, like the main hall and kitchen, are not necessarily proportional to the number of children in the school. This challenge was overcome by some clever spatial planning which utilised a room that would become a studio in phase 2, as a KS1 classroom in Phase 1.
This meant the second phase was a simple 4-classroom extension over two stories. Planning application was obtained for the 2FE school at the outset as it was envisaged the new places would be needed within 5 years. The last significant challenge was the fact that there was no end-user client until after the planning application had been submitted as an academy sponsor had not yet been selected. This was overcome by working closely with Wiltshire Council’s education officer and retaining maximum flexibility in teaching space arrangements such that the incoming academy organisation could refine and tailor the spaces following their appointment.
The sustainability criteria for the project were a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’, which was a planning requirement, and a 40% reduction in carbon consumption from the existing school building, which is a Wiltshire Council corporate target. Both outcomes were achieved.