White Design was appointed by Willmott Dixon to deliver a hospitality and catering facility for North Somerset Council at St Katherine’s School, near Bristol, completed in 2010. The brief required a world class teaching environment to deliver the new Hospitality and Catering Diploma and improvements to the existing dining and catering provision, incorporating a new community restaurant allowing the school to make links with the wider community through the medium of food. The brief also required the new building be linked to the existing English block which was also remodeled as part of the whole project.
The massing of the building was developed in response to the site context and topography to form a hierarchy of masses housing the key facilities of dining, kitchen and restaurant. The different uses are further expressed in the external treatment of the building through contrasting brick and natural timber. The landscape design cleverly integrates the new facility with the existing school and infrastructure, emphasizing the theme of food through the informed choice of planting.
The dining hall is naturally ventilated utilising roof-mounted wind- catchers and an automated control system. Air source heat pumps are linked to underfloor heating and provide coolth during the warmer months. Brick is used internally and externally at low level to provide thermal mass and forms a robust ‘wearing’ course for longevity. Natural light is provided through a combination of low emissivity glazing, north facing rooflights and sun pipes, while daylight-linked lighting controls with presence detection also help to minimise energy use. The scheme achieved a BREEAM “very good” rating.