English Bicknor Junior and Infant school needed a smart, permanent solution to help them expand the school’s provision for local children and to create customised learning spaces for the special needs of a new pupil who uses a wheelchair
The brief included a specific list of special equipment and the challenge was going to be the school’s geographical location. Not only was the site a conservation area, overlooking the Wye Valley, it also sat between two sites of significant historical significance, a grade 1 listed church and the ancient monument site of a Motte and Bailey castle.
An even bigger challenge was uncovered, to meet the school’s needs and to satisfy the stringent requirements of planning and building control restrictions. Working closely on groundworks with an Archeologist and English Heritage who approved the school pod design, the foundations dig began. Immediately we unearthed an ancient turret, once part of the castle so the Pod Space designed team had to create a revised design solution moving the school building to a new location in order to preserve the incredible historical find.
As with all of the buildings we design for a learning environment, the English Bicknor classrooms were designed to maximize natural light. We included glazed bi-fold doors and large areas of window glazing to the playground sides of the building. Internally, accessibility for a wheelchair user was crucial. By working with a supplier of the specialist hygiene equipment we created a purpose-built hygiene room.
Our use of natural cladding materials suited the school’s countryside setting perfectly. The design finish incorporated Siberian Larch for the exterior walls and we constructed anti-slip decking and fencing to compliment the natural timber cladding and of course, mobility ramps for wheelchair access.
As incredible as it’s been for the Pod Space team to design, construct and build the English Bicknor School building, really it’s the opinion of people who use it on a daily basis that matters the most.
We’ve got just what we wanted and we are extremely pleased with the building. We can’t believe how lucky we are to learn, teach and work in such a quality building. The designers responded to our ideas and created a bespoke learning environment just for us. Our Pod has enhanced the learning experiences for all pupils by giving them a fully inclusive, learning environment that matches how we teach and learn today.