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Fitzjames Teaching and Learning Centre, Hazlegrove School, Somerset

Academic hub that inspires pupils

Credit: David Grandorge

Feilden Fowles for Hazlegrove School

Contract value: £1,206,500

GIA: 658m2

Client of the year sponsored by Sika

Hazlegrove School set a clear ambition to create a new academic hub that inspires pupils to discover and explore the excitement of learning. First impressions are of a familiar solid brick raised elevation supported on a rhythmic light stone colonnade. The entrance, rather than being obvious, is set back, inviting one in. 

  • Credit: David Grandorge
  • Credit: David Grandorge
  • Credit: David Grandorge
  • Credit: David Grandorge

The architect has taken the client’s childhood love of the imposing staircase in London’s Natural History Museum to heart and created an amphitheatre-style staircase. It has been embraced by the children as stage, staircase and climbing frame. Strikingly top-lit, the large communal space has a simple timber panelling back-drop while an expressed metal structure provides visual detail. Accented colour panels lift the mood and provide acoustic control. Flowing off the central space at two levels are six teaching spaces divided from the communal space with glass screens.

Special commendation should go to the client for believing in and trusting an emerging team of architects. The result is testament to the fact that such teams are extremely capable of delivering stunning inspirational spaces.

See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – South West and Wessex

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