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KINGSMEAD PRIMARY SCHOOL, NORTHWICH, CHESHIRE Kingsmead Primary School was needed to serve a main catchment area consisting of a large new estate of privately owned houses on the rural fringe of Northwich.

With a genuine greenfield site available, Cheshire County Council set out to create a 'flagship project for sustainable design and construction' and a 'best practice model for innovative, value-for-money procurement'. Reporting after the school's first year of operation, the BCI Awards judges' view is that both objectives have been achieved.

The delightful school is naturally well lit, airy and comfortable to work in. It was built largely with standard structural components - glulam timber portal frames split in two and assembled back to back to form a gull wing-shaped roof - and will be easy to extend and adapt for future needs.

Major advantages of the roof arrangement are that the north-facing classrooms have large windows letting in even light but minimal solar glare. Clerestory windows supplement this natural lighting within the core of the building and rainwater can be collected for flushing WCs and other applications where treated water is not required.

Setting each successive main frame at four degrees off parallel has created a simple-to-build, attractive curved plan for Kingsmead, which gets away from the fixed rectangular layout of most school buildings.

For building schemes valued at under £3 million. Sponsored by NEC THE TEAM Client Cheshire County Council Cost £2.344 million Principal designer White Design Associates Structural engineer Mander Structural Design Contractor Willmott Dixon Construction Other firms Arup (M&E services), Mitie Engineering (M&E contractor), Lilleheden (Glulam frames)

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