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Case Study / GRAVENEY SCHOOL

Rodeca helps set a template for new school buildings

Cladding panels from Rodeca form the front façade of a new sixth form centre.

Transparent rainscreen cladding from Rodeca has been used on an “innovative, sustainable and economical” template for new school buildings.

Rodeca’s 60mm PC 2560-12 wall panels in Kristall finish were specified by architects Urban Projects Bureau for the front elevation of a £1.1million new sixth form centre at Graveney School in Tooting, south-west London.

The practice has worked with the Graveney Trust on many projects over the past four years and the new sixth form block is the result of a positive collaboration between the school staff, students and design team.

The 750m2, two-storey building to the rear of the site, provides valuable extra teaching, study and events spaces ... and a positive contribution to Graveney’s campus and host of fine architectural buildings.

Rules by the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund meant it had to be delivered on a tight schedule and budget, with a target cost per m2 way below current guidelines.

The school considered buying an off-the-peg prefab block but were unconvinced about the quality of accommodation it would provide as well as its location behind the Grade ll listed Furzedown House which meant generic prefabs would be difficult to get through planning. As it was the planners requested samples of the materials proposed for its construction.

Urban Projects Bureau’s brief was to provide an intelligent and spatially innovative alternative that was a “grown-up” learning environment for students and the local community.

Matthew Jeniec of Urban Projects Bureau added that it was also “to provide an innovative, sustainable and economical building that sets a template for new school buildings, achieving maximum architectural output using minimal means.”

Built by Ashe Construction of cross laminated timber, the new sixth form centre comprises eight 57m2 classrooms, four staff offices and double-height independent study space with balconies and gallery.

Matthew also said they met the brief by “rationalising the floor plans to exclude unnecessary space such as corridors, utilising prefabricated construction techniques (CLT) and leaving materials and services exposed.”

He added that the Rodeca polycarbonate cladding, which gives U-values of 0.75 W/m2K and light transmittance of up to 80% and was installed by specialist sub-contractor Roclad Systems, was specified for its “contemporary, clean aesthetic, transparency and economics.

“It provided the potential to display the building structure through the façade which was key to the flat-pack/tectonic aesthetic of the building. There was little budget for expensive materials or interior finishes so the tectonics and construction – its CLT frame, panels, claddings and openings - are what give the building its character.”

Matthew concluded: “We set a template for producing a contemporary architectural aesthetic and a unique and mature learning environment with limited means.”

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