The new school building is designed to be environmentally sustainable; it is naturally ventilated, maximises daylight and has a cast in situ concrete structure, the thermal mass of which helps to equalise internal temperatures.
The pitched roof was partly dictated by planning restrictions; to reduce the overall area an extra floor was accommodated within the roof pitch. The steep 50° pitch also relates to the roof of the adjacent Arts and Crafts library and the Olivier Theatre.
The external wall structure consists of Douglas fi r columns, purlins and rafters that form a series of simple pinned arches - connected at base, eaves and ridge. The frame is made up of composite elements (eg the 300 x 184mm purlins are formed of four 46mm timbers glued together) with connections made of steel flitch plates; as a result it was very easy to build.
The windows are screened with panels of larch louvres. The infill studwork was prefabricated and brought to site ready to be clad with larch strips.
The west wall to the singlestorey main reception space is a curtain wall with laminated larch mullions, transoms and face-caps. The mullions extend upwards to be fixed with steel brackets to the edge of the concrete slab. Each top-glazed panel is an opening light; its glazing extends beyond the frame so that in appearance it matches the fixed lights below it.