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FIRST LOOK

Re-Format’s Reading secondary school features two ‘community barns’

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The geometrically patterned, timber-framed structures contain shared spaces for learning, dining, assembly and performance

This building is envisioned as the ‘social hub’ of a wider regeneration project for 3,000 new homes at the former Arborfield Garrison site in Reading. Completed by Re-Format, with Atkins providing initial plans, the development will be operated by the Bohunt Academy, an education delivery organisation that also includes the Bohunt School in Liphook, Hampshire.

Re-Format developed the project to incorporate three wings connected by two ‘community barns’. These wings act as a the spine of the project, comprising 68 new classrooms, while the barns house larger, flexible shared spaces for learning, dining, assembly and performance.

F7A2635

Bohunt School by Re-Format

The two-storey wings are simple brick volumes, providing generously sized corridors and windows. The barns contrast with this, being geometrically patterned timber frames with large, glazed frontages and skylights, which help to flood the double-height interiors with natural light. 

Two courtyards to the north and south provide outdoor space for students, including an amphitheatre for creative arts performances, sports courts and an athletics track. To strengthen the school’s role as a centre for the community, these spaces are also available for hire.

Architect’s view

For a new secondary school primed with the ability to accommodate 1,500 pupils, Bohunt Academy also needed to face the unusual ‘problem’ of only catering for 210 Year 7 pupils when it first opened its doors, not reaching full capacity until 2022. As a result, the three teaching wings that connect into the communal barns create a more legible scale in the first few years as the school cohort increases.

Much of the design’s success stems from the positive relationship between the three two-storey teaching wings and two multi-functional community barns, which act as a nucleus for many aspects of everyday school life. The building plan arrangement facilitates direct learning and social interaction between internal teaching spaces and landscaped courtyards. We have a keenness for design clarity and simplicity continuing from concept to technical delivery, which has resulted in a successful project for the school.

Dan Brunt, partner, Re-Format Architects

0502 Perspective Section

Bohunt School by Re-Format

Project data

Start on site June 2015
Completion 
2017 (officially opened in May 2018)
Gross internal floor area 8,700m²
Site area 95,530m²
Form of contract Design & Build
Project value 
£20 million
Architect Re-Format
Client 
Wokingham Borough Council / Dawnus Construction
Project manager Faithful & Gould
Planning consultant DHA Planning
Civil & structural engineer Cundall
MEP services Legson
QS Faithful + Gould 
Landscape consultant Terra Firma
Ecology consultant RSK
Environmental consultant DBK
CDM coordinator Faithful + Gould
Approved building inspector RBC
Main contractor Dawnus
CAD software used ArchiCAD

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This project was designed by Atkins up to the appointment of the contractor and working drawings done by Re-Format. Far more than the derisory ‘Initial plans’ that the comment suggests. This article is misleading and should be corrected.

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