Kent County Council
- BCSE Best of British Schools Awards, Test of Time Award, Finalist, 2012
- Kent Design Awards, Finalist, 2010
- Civic Trust Mention, 2009
- BCSE Industry Award for best extension, refurbishment of a school, 2009
The students have very challenging needs and the design decisions taken for the school are instrumental to the quality of the teaching environment and the curriculum delivery. The user needs was a generator of every design decision made. Given that a student may spend their entire educational life at the school, there is a sense of progression through the key stages, as a rite of passage. As the age of the student increases, the spaces they inhabit become more mature. The new master planning of the school site is based upon physical and emotional security. The fence surrounding the site must keep intruders out, and given the nature of the students, keep them within the school grounds. The building design aids the emotional security of the students. The exterior facades are designed to provoke a secure, but welcoming shell. The canopies and rendered walls suggest entering a protected building. Once inside the building, the environment becomes softer, more transparent and sympathetic, culminating in the central soft courtyard heart of the building. The external sensory courtyard is made of softer materials and is protective of the more vulnerable students, yet has a sense of openness.
Photography by Dennis Gilbert/View