Growing pressure for school places in Colchester has created a demand for a significant number of new school places in the town and in the Stanway area this has been particularly intense. The Fiveways Primary School is one of two local schools that are being increased in size and this one involved an increase from 1.5 FE to 3FE by the addition of a new, freestanding block.
The recently completed new block is a two-storey building minimising its footprint on the site whilst the school numbers increase significantly. The inclusion of a MUGA within the existing playing field allows for this to be counted as double the area, owing to its all year-round use.
The amount of space available was limited by the extended car park and the outlook for two of the classrooms in an earlier feasibility study by others would have been to a car park in close proximity. By rotating the block, it was possible to create a better outdoor area for reception classes and also to group the three together, which works better with the school’s preference for a single shared outdoor space. This also avoids the new building eating into the playing field area.
The existing building is single storey, with just the hall roof set at a higher level, whilst the proposed new building adds a two-storey element to the site. The overall scale of this addition is reduced visually by the new block being in the centre of the site and behind the existing building from the Winstree Road frontage. The apparent height is minimised by the use of very shallow pitched roof planes on the two-storey element arranged in an elegant ‘gull wing’ style.
The new building is in a contemporary style that responds to the needs of modern education spaces and its elevational treatment reflects the importance placed on matters such as daylight, ventilation and the prevention of overheating during hot weather. A simple palette of rendered walls and curtain wall type panels comprising glazing and coloured cladding units has been used and the cladding colours reflect the school’s own house colours.
Along the eastern elevation there is a simple timber pergola structure which is supporting a translucent polycarbonate canopy. This provides shelter for the required all year outdoor space for the reception year pupils.