St. Augustine's Primary School
A Winner of the RIBA National Award in 2005, this 1FE primary school is now a nationwide ‘design exemplar’. The site, which enjoys fantastic views to the south over the English Channel, is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, so the building had to be sensitively designed to preserve the landscape.
The design is orientated in a linear form which maximises the benefits of the site: each classroom has a view out over the sea, and, on warmer days, can open to timber-decked external teaching areas. The building’s distinctive ‘wave’ roof form shields the playground to the rear from the strong coastal winds.
The building’s vernacular material palette responds to the design’s location through the specification of durable, low maintenance materials such as a metal profile roof and timber cedar boarding that will weather gracefully. These locally-sourced materials have low embodied energy, whilst the high insulations levels, high thermal mass and south-facing glazing ensure excellent energy efficiency in the building’s operation. The scheme also uses a grey-water recycling scheme for use within the underfloor cooling system, as well as for landscape watering.
The building has become a precedent for those championing the virtues of sustainability-motivated, site-responsive, innovative school design. The building’s integration of an energy efficient logic with intelligent, inventive, concept-driven design continues to win it many plaudits.