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FIRST LOOK

Norfolk school block designed by DK-CM echoes postwar past

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The cross-laminated timber building for Wroughton Academy in Great Yarmouth links two previously separate schools

DK-CM has completed a new link block in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth which reads as a wooden pavilion between what were originally two primary schools – junior and infant – that shared the same site. 

The CLT insertion, with its zinc-clad roof, picks up its clearest design cues from the original brick and concrete junior school, which opened in 1950. The progressive Modernist language is echoed in a series of raking crosswalls which form the bays of the new block’s glazed frontage, but which in their softer timber structure provide a mediating link to the pitch-roofed blocks of the 1990s infants school. 

Designed, in part, through a series of workshops with the children themselves, the new space is defined by the expressed diagrid timber structure across the ceiling in the reception area, the triangular shapes echoed in the patterning of grey/blue and canary yellow floor. 

Wroughton neil perry 03

Wroughton neil perry 03

The warmth of the timber structure and enclosure is continued inside in the exposed CLT walls, the wooden framing of the glazed façades and clerestory windows, and the timber reception desk and series of movable benches. 

These enable the space to be used either simply as a link between infant and junior schools, or as a teaching space, with the benches rearranged auditorium-style.

The CLT construction allowed for extensive offsite construction, minimising the impact on the running of the school.

Wroughton neil perry 15

Wroughton neil perry 15

Architect’s view 

Our aim was to create an environment that the children would have some ownership of, while respecting the existing architecture of the site. The new building should have an identity but also seem like it was always meant to be there. It has been a pleasure to work closely with the trustees and the pupils at the academy to deliver a small-scale project that has a big effect on the daily running of the school.

Cristina Monteiro, director, DK-CM

Wroughton drawing axonometric dk cm

Wroughton drawing axonometric dk cm

Project data

Start on site January 2019
Completion September 2019
Gross internal floor area 145m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 350m²
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional / JCT Intermediate with Contractor’s Design
Construction cost £500,000
Architect DK-CM
Client Creative Education Trust
Structural engineer Structure Workshop
M&E consultant OR Consulting
QS Burke Hunter Adams LLP
Project manager Burke Hunter Adams LLP
Approved building inspector MLM Group
Main contractor Elm Contracts (Contracting) Ltd
CAD software used Vectorworks

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Half a million seems like an astonishing sum for what is little more than an enclosed patio with some fancy windows and pretty paint on the floor.
    Must be lots of money in the education trust business.

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