Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate, Kent, UK-England

Exemplary design categories: access, energy efficiency, library/media/resource centre, school/community regeneration, sporting facilities

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Set in the flat featureless landscape of eastern Kent, this colourful new academy is more like a campus than a traditional school. The three academic specialisations of the school - performing arts, science and humanities - form three curved teaching wings spiralling around a sequence of open and enclosed social spaces, including the arena, a restaurant, IT resource areas, library, sports hall and theatre. The clients’ vision of forming a community of learners is achieved through an open learning environment where pupils and teachers can see and be seen. The sequence of spaces has the feel of being outdoors, with streets and squares formed between the classroom wings and the sports hall and theatre. The sports hall is raised above the library, so that the ground level elevation is animated at all times and is easily accessible from the entrance piazza. The dramatic central arena space is topped by a timber gridshell roof, and acts as a counterpoint to the external piazza. Due to the proximity of Kent airport, There is an elaborate but low-tech system of mechanically assisted fresh-air ventilation, incorporating acoustic dampers and heat exchangers. When the arena and the adjoining auditorium are fully occupied, the ventilation system in the classrooms is switched off to save energy. Passive environmental controls include exposed concrete frames and floor slab soffits that act as a heat sink. The windows are shaded from the sun by a combination of fixed louvers and retractable external blinds.

Activity Areas: 32 classrooms, 8 seminar rooms, 12 science laboratories, ICT area, storerooms, 3 art studios, 9 music rooms, toilets, 14 staff offices, dance and drama studios, sports hall and changing rooms, library, reprographics, Post-16 Centre and an assembly hall/lecture theatre

Project costs: GBP 23,000,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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User perspectives (1)

"The new building has proved to serve peoples’ needs well. The facilities are all that you could hope for in a modern secondary school. The communal nature and flexibility of the space on the ground floor has been a major factor in breaking down barriers between youngsters and adults."
Ian Johnson, head teacher, Marlowe Academy

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Drawings (3)

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site plan (Registration required)
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