LocationCarlisle, Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Architect in ChargeATKINS
Harraby is a former village, 1 mile to the South West of Carlisle’s historic Centre. During the post war years Carlisle City Council expanded the village with new neighborhoods and communities. The site of the new Community Campus was home to the original secondary school (demolished 2014) and consolidates early years, primary and adult learning within the surviving housing neighborhoods.
Harraby Community Campus is a truly multifunctional building, incorporating: a three form primary school; two early years’ nurseries; a Community Centre; a refurbished arts theatre; a café; and Children’s Centre.
Our challenge has been to bring four distinct groups (Community, School, Nursery and Children’s Centre) together in a new environment, creating a coherent sense of shared community whilst still respecting the individual identity of each group.
In response to this, the campus is imagined as an abstract representation of the surrounding residential district with its undulating suburban roofscape, where the expression of the nursery, school and community elements are articulated as a series of linked, but distinct, pavilions. Proudly, each pavilion is crowned by a translucent lantern – a beacon - that internally helps define spaces for gathering under the light, creating focal points for activity.
Through this pavilion typology the school environment presents as a series of articulated ‘houses’ that communicate a sense of home to each cohort of children. Within each house the classroom bases are planned to enable connections to shared internal educational resources and to the outside world. The classrooms are filled with natural light from two sides and children are given a sense of their own place in the learning community through the transparency that is afforded.
The interior is imagined as a learning landscape where every surface can be appropriated as a space for educational activity. This approach relies on the rejection of the traditional classroom space as an insular entity and instead seeks to dissolve the boundaries between class space and the wider educational interior through the articulation of in-between spaces
The Class spaces are therefore linked spatially to the wider interior through large format screens and bespoke furniture that permit a wide range of activity to take place in the thresholds between spaces. This approach provides the compactness and flexibility of the traditional class space with the distance and separation required for multiple activity settings.
The interior spatial solution is themed along urban lines which infers residences, streets and squares. The traditional school hall is articulated as a town square or gathering place with enhanced volume and is wrapped with spaces for movement and views to the external garden courtyards.
End-users and Local Authority are delighted with the outcome of this progressive learning environment with seamless connections from child care through to primary and adult social learning and to the wider community.