St Francis of Assisi Academy
DfES/ Diocese & Archdiocese of Liverpool
Completed - 2006
7,750 sqm/ £16.8m
St. Francis of Assisi was Liverpool’s first Academy, and the first in the country to have the Environment as its specialism. Jointly sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the Anglican Archdiocese in Liverpool, the Academy serves as a learning environment for 11-16 year old children of both communities, together with children affiliated to other faiths.
The design of the Academy reflects its focus on an education rooted in green awareness and sustainability and its aspiration to attract disaffected teenagers back to learning. The Academy has been designed to facilitate environmental education and to offer itself as a pervasive educational resource. It has an East-West orientation that allows maximum natural daylight, providing a bright and positive learning environment. Outputs from the twelve banks of photo-voltaic cells and the rainwater harvesting are prominently located on electronic display boards in the central cyber-café area, part of a state-of-the art ICT system.
The roof mainly consists of a combination of sedum and brown roofs, with a substrate formed from excavated sandstone from the site. The outdoor classroom roof combines this sandstone substrate with areas of crushed cockleshell, both of which were seeded with an indigenous wildflower mix.
The staff at the Academy have repeatedly praised the design of the building as key in making ‘an immediate impact’ on pupils’ learning and as one of the key factors in motivating them in their studies. The provision of facilities for pupils to work independently has also allowed them to work ‘much more effectively’. Percy Thomas Architects were highly commended for the scheme in the ‘Sustainable Building’ category at the 2007 Sustainable City Awards and was the subject of a report in The Independent newspaper under the headline 'Britain’s Greenest School’.