Navigating the school is like walking around a hilltop town
East Midlands RIBA Regional Award 2019
Architecture Initiative for Northamptonshire County Council
Contract value: £33.4m
Cost per m²: £1501
Architecture Initiative has taken a moribund early 1980s brutalist postal sorting office and created a 2,200-pupil academy. Boldly chopping lightwells through the slab, it’s introduced a clear language of new teaching interventions, with oversized lecture and music boxes articulating cafeteria and break out spaces. These are filled with light and surrounded by new workshops celebrating the scale of the former sorting office. Well-designed grand staircases help orientation in this vast building. Navigating the school is like walking around a hilltop town, with glimpsed views to different years’ levels; the seniors inhabiting the uppermost part. Here too is a stylish new addition, the old canteen and terrace now a spectacular plywood-clad sports hall – the citadel crowning this urban meander.