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IF_DO wins planning for Surrey sixth form centre

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Emerging practice IF_DO has won planning permission for a sixth form centre at St Teresa’s School in Effingham, Surrey 

Plans for the 700m² scheme at the independent girls’ school include a two-storey classroom and library block and a separate another two-storey building housing a 140-capacity lecture theatre. 

The two blocks, which will replace several temporary portacabin classrooms, will frame a pair of couryards and be linked by a sheltered entrance. 

It is the first phase of IF_DO’s ten year masterplan for the school on the 22.4ha site, which also includes a sports pavilion, ‘prep school’ classrooms and an art centre. According to the practice, the design of the sixth form centre was driven by the ’collegiate-style’, which it added is ‘central’ to the masterplan. 

Thomas Bryans, director of IF_DO, said: ’This project has been pivotal for our practice in that it has allowed us to further develop our ambition to deliver holistically sustainable buildings which have a wide reaching impact.

’Working closely with the St Teresa’s community, we have developed a design which not only meets the school’s brief and ambitions, but provides much more besides – from the excess energy that the building will produce, to the learning opportunities that the design and construction process has and will bring to the students.’

The scheme is expected to start on site in September 2017, and complete in time for the next academic year beginning September 2018.

IF_DO recently unveiled its Dulwich Pavilion at the Dulcwich Picture Gallery, south London, which is open to the public. 

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Source: IF_DO

Sixth form centre at St Teresa’s School by IF_DO (ground floor plan)

Architect’s view

Nature pervades the entire scheme - from the formal courtyards to the outdoor ‘woodland’ classroom to the tree growing through the roof canopy at the centre of the plan – the scheme includes a sequence of elements which harness the under-utilised green spaces of the school’s site.

The colonnade of the seminar rooms follows around the western courtyard, along the base of the lecture theatre, and will eventually be connected into a wider series of colonnades to stitch together the other disparate St Teresa’s buildings.

A tight budget has led the practice to explore an off-site modular form of construction (prefabricated SIPs panels) with a bespoke roof canopy at the entrance (using deep glulam beams, and frameless single glazing to provide shelter to the external staircase). Elevations feature a brick datum with sweet chestnut timber cladding above.

Sustainable aspects include: natural ventilation to all classrooms and offices, with mechanical heat recovery ventilation in the common room, library and lecture theatre; full-roof PV array which will generate more energy than the building uses, feeding back to the rest of the school; and a biodiverse green roof to the entrance canopy.

Project data

Project name St Teresa’s School Sixth Form Centre
Location Effingham, Surrey
Site area 22.4ha
Gross internal area 700m²
Value £1.4 million
Client St Teresa’s School Effingham Trust
Architect IF_DO
Structural Engineer Fluid Structures
Services Engineer Chris Evans Consulting
Quantity Surveyor CBE Partnership
Planning Consultant Indigo Planning
Sustainability Consultant Metropolis Green


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