Text description provided by the architects. UPB have worked with Graveney School on a number of projects and ventures and the Sixth Form Block is the result of a positive collaboration between the school staff, students and the design team. Post-BSF, UPB submitted a range of potential projects for funding bids, and were successful in securing an Academies Capital Maintenance Fund for a new Sixth Form Block to the rear of the school site. The building provides valuable extra teaching, study and events spaces for sixth form students, and makes a positive contribution to Graveney’s campus and host of fine architectural buildings.
The rules of the funding meant that the building had to be delivered on tight schedule and budget, with a target cost per sqm way below the current guidelines. The school considered buying an off-the-peg, prefabricated block, but were unconvinced about the quality of accommodation it would provide. Also, being situated behind the Grade 2 listed Furzedown House, meant that generic prefabricated buildings would be difficult to get through planning. UPBs brief was to provide an intelligent and spatially innovative alternative within the time and cost constraints.
The 800sqm building includes 8 classrooms and a double-height independent study space with balconies and gallery. It is constructed from Cross Laminated Timber and has a polycarbonate front facade with window openings designed to frame views across the campus and surrounding trees.
The building creates an inspiring and stimulating environment for sixth form students to study and socialize in. With little budget for expensive materials or interior finishes, the tectonics and construction of the building - its CLT frame, panels, cladding and openings –are what shapes the building and gives it a strong, robust and contemporary identity.
The design aims to achieve the maximum architectural output out of minimal means, and is the product of the combined perseverance, will and ambition of the client and design team to achieve something unexpected.