Nottingham City Council/ Carillion Plc.
Completed - 2010
8,280 sqm/ £18m
Big Wood School was one of the three sample schools that formed part of the winning Nottingham BSF bid. Big Wood School demonstrated the bidding team’s expertise in designing a new school whilst the existing school remained open. The new school was built in 3 phases followed by demolition of the existing school. The accommodation provides a curriculum for 750 pupils aged 11 to 16 and also includes an Enterprise Centre and Construction Centre for community use and vocational studies. The aspirational brief of 0m2 for circulation drove a campus style solution with blocks closely placed to surround an external learning courtyard with cloister cover.
The combination of a superb site on the edge of the beautiful Bestwood Country Park, an elevated location affording views over the city of Nottingham, an extremely aspirational brief for transformational learning and teaching environments, and an evidently happy and successful school culture, all within a wider cultural context of a deprived urban community, offered an excellent design opportunity.
We approached the design challenge determined to be as imaginative and innovative as possible, believing that the right design solution should suit this distinctive context so strongly that it would look like no other school designed before. At the same time this should not be design invention and innovation for its own sake, but take as its point of departure a determination to create an inspirational and flexible environment which firmly supports the school’s educational vision.
The whole of the project from the low-energy building design, to the construction method developed to minimise waste, to the commitment to establish ecological and horticultural areas within the site has been evaluated to maximise the sustainability of our proposals. These strategies are underpinned by the provision of on-site energy through the CHP plant, and the recognition that wherever possible sustainability initiatives have been used as an educational resource.