The Sunesis school model is based on the award-winning, tried and tested design for Kingsmead Primary School.It is a low embodied energy school that is flexible, sustainable and demonstrative of the sustainable technologies used in its construction including the curved primary structure of laminated timber that is expressed internally and externally.
The design is based two parallel arcs separated by a central corridor containing support spaces. Infant and junior classrooms are located on the outer arc and reception classrooms, staff accommodation, hall and further ancillary spaces on the inner arc. This arrangement ensures each classroom is linked directly to external space and the reception outdoor areas are kept separate from older children with options for a dedicated covered play area.
The distinctive butterfly form of the building allows high levels of daylight and natural ventilation to all the main teaching spaces where children and teachers spend most of their school day. This categorises them as ‘Extensive’ classrooms under BB103 enabling a full range of furniture layouts and activities to take place within the room. The ‘extensive’ classroom model is a distinctive differentiator to the ‘baseline’ designs and in our experience is highly valued by teaching staff. LRC space is located at the ‘heart' of the school adjacent to the principle visitor entrance with intimate breakout spaces and pupil toilets available in the central corridor zone close to appropriate classrooms. A specialist food room is provided.
The sustainable nature of the building is expressed through isolated use of natural untreated timber cladding and the externally located glulaminated columns that clearly articulate the gently facetted elevations of white through-coat render. The frame provides natural breaks between classrooms, and introduce a child friendly scale and materiality. The frame articulates the elevations and breaks down their scale. The east and west elevations express the distinct butterfly roof form of the building.
The hall is a large multi-purpose space able to support a range of activities including assembly, PE, performance and dining. The size of the hall is able to hold all infants and junior classes in one space for assembly with good sight lines to the front. The Hall ‘announces’ the principle visitor entrance to the school and is well located to allow for separate community use.
The school is now being expanded with six additional classrooms and one existing classroom is to become a new reception area.