Text description provided by the architects. Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects designed a classroom suite for Carshalton Boys Sports College in South London. The building is clad in perforated and solid Cor-ten panels and utilised off-site manufacture to meet programme, budget, and sustainability requirements.
The new built-for-purpose Maths facility replaced a deteriorating temporary structure, providing eight new flexible classrooms, staff offices and WC facilities within a new 775sqm single storey building. With its intriguing visual aesthetic the new Cor-ten clad facility promotes a positive, modern identity for the department, and provides an improved working environment within.
The interiors are flooded with natural light and make use of moveable partitions to provide flexible and generous teaching spaces. Full-height internal windows looking onto the corridor improve lighting conditions and aid surveillance. Whilst initially met with some hesitation, indications post-completion have shown the transparency of the space had a positive impact, improving student attentiveness and behaviour within a more mature working environment.
The school Principal Simon Barber commented that ‘the design of the new building is outstanding and is being seen as a benchmark for other local schools who are facing the same challenges as my own – how to provide high quality teaching spaces with a limited budget and less time than we might like to deliver them.’
FBM worked closely with the board of governors at Carshalton and the contractors on site to successfully achieve a fast build whilst faced with time, health and safety, and operational constraints caused by working during term time at the college. Building to a 1200mm grid, simplicity in design and the use of modular components manufactured off-site helped to achieve the 6 month programme with the timber frame taking under two weeks to erect.
The building exterior is primarily formed by a pre-weathered Cor-ten steel box, with anodised aluminium accents at the entry and exit points. Cor-ten offers:
- A warm tonal variety that both knits with the contextual red-brick palette whilst maintaining a character of its own
- An evolving, weathered appearance that changes over time, adding educational value to the buildings aesthetic whilst promoting interest in the department
- A low maintenance facade
- A durable, protective envelope
The variety of transparencies responds to the different environmental conditions found around the building protecting the interiors from excessive solar gains.
By adopting a single storey design with sheltered play spaces we have minimised the visual and sounds impacts of the building and its users to the surroundings. This was essential in ensuring that the building would receive planning approval without objection within funding timescales. The Cor-ten forms a raised parapet to the perimeter of the building to mask plant items when viewing the building from the surrounding context.
FBM design reacted to environmental conditions to provide a highly sustainable and flexible teaching facility. Sustainability has been integrated through using:
- A timber frame, highly efficient thermal envelope, the roof U value at 0.1 W/m2k
- High performance glazing used on all doors and windows
- High efficiency boilers to reduce energy use and heating costs
- Photovoltaic panels, totalling a 7 kW capacity have been integrated into the roof to provide green electrical energy sufficient for the buildings requirements, which only needs supplementing in exceptional circumstances
- Natural light and ventilation throughout via regularly spaced windows and roof lights
- Low energy luminescent with intelligent control
- Perforated cladding providing passive solar shading
- Off-site manufacture of key components and building to a 1200mm grid meant there were no timber cut-offs, minimising material waste
- The site waste management plan ensured that other than soil waste, any waste produced was recycled or re-used
The project was part funded through the Academy Capital Maintenance Fund grant and incorporated sustainable solutions such as a super-insulated thermal envelope and 7kW capacity photovoltaic panels to considerably minimize running costs.
Carshalton Boys Sports College is a non-selective convertor Academy in a selective borough. The majority of students are from socioeconomic backgrounds below the national average. Despite this, achievement is significantly above the national average and improving rapidly, with the school included in the 100 ‘most improved schools’ for the past three years running