Set within the expansive Suffolk landscapes famously portrayed by romantic painter Thomas Gainsborough, the new school is conceived as a timeless and elegant country house beneath vast open skies.
The four-storey brick building is arranged around three atria; each one allowing for natural ventilation and light to enter the circulation spaces, offering constantly changing experiences of light and shadow. These atria add a sense of orientation and richness to the interior, as well offering a connection to the surrounding landscape.
Students enter the school from the south through the ‘Celebration Space’, which displays the pupils’ achievements to inspire them. This space links, through the Art Gallery, to the visitors’ entrance to the North, so that they too can appreciate the achievements of the school community.
The school’s ethos ‘Excellence: for each, for all’ is reflected in the series of clearly organized diverse spaces. Each space aims to inspire the pupils, staff and visitors alike in a school which consciously serves and supports the local community.
Key to our passive strategy is the use of cross ventilation in the classrooms to prevent overheating and provide fresh air, all while ensuring the rooms remain acoustically separated from the rest of the building. Air quality sensors within each classroom and windows, with simple openable panels behind a louvred screen, allow the occupants to control their space.
These openable panels work with the acoustically attenuated openings in the bulkheads of the classrooms, which allow the hot, stale air to be removed through the three, four storey atria in the school.