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BDP unveils baseline-busting Liverpool arts college

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[FIRST LOOK + PROJECT DATA] BDP has completed this 1,100 pupil school in Liverpool - built for £70/m2 less than the government’s current schools target

The new St John Bosco Arts College in the suburb of Croxteth, was delivered for £1,043/m2 against a project budget of £1,050/m2 for the basic build and contingencies.

The Education Funding Agency’s target for new-build is £1,113/m2, excluding external works, special circumstances, and fees.

Specialising in visual and performing arts, St John Bosco is one of 12 new secondary, primary, and special schools commissioned by Liverpool City Council under a £170million city deal negotiated with the government.

The three-storey 11,100m2 structure was constructed adjacent to St John Bosco’s former school buildings, and came in at a final project cost of £18million, including furniture, fixtures and fittings, equipment, and abnormal and external costs.

Scheme clients were Regeneration Liverpool, a joint venture between regeneration specialist Sigma Inpartnership and Liverpool City Council.

St John Bosco Arts College

The internal communal area of BDP’s St John Bosco Arts College

The archiect’s view

The new school is housed in a 91m x 55m three-storey single-span column-free environment, within which an exciting mix of open plan and cellular learning and social spaces are created, all focusing on a sculpted landscape set at the heart of the school.

With a budget of just £1043/m2 the response uses a simple efficient building form which delivers 15 per cent more area than the traditional Building Bulletin 98 school, allowing for greater flexibility in learning environment to create both transformational and inspirational spaces. Clever internal planning minimising circulation space and allowing for multiple functions, colour and graphics have created a unique response to the school’s identity and sense of place in its community.

The potentially singular large open environment is subdivided by ‘The Hill’, a central device which creates a series of spaces and scales of environment to suit different functions. The building feels like a new breed of school, unique, contemporary and an example of how small budgets don’t necessarily have to deliver standard products.

St John Bosco Arts College

Drawing of BDP’s St John Bosco Arts College, showing the central ‘Heartspace’ area surrounded by classrooms

Design team

Client Regeneration Liverpool
Architect and landscape BDP
Structural engineer Alan Johnson Partnership
M&E engineer A&B Engineering
Transport SCP Transport
Fire Hoare Lea

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