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Ottery St Mary Primary



Ottery St Mary Primary School


Project Type:

New Build


Ottery St Mary, Devon

In 2008 the school was the subject of a 4 million pound building development which added 10 new classrooms, an ICT suite, a dedicated Art and DT room, a Dance/Drama studio and a new kitchen.

TFQ worked on funding submissions as well as design consultation, planning drawings and construction packages.

TFQ were initially appointed by Devon County Council to undertake a feasibility study into enlarging Ottery St Mary Primary School to provide a two form entry school. The school was built in the 1960s and then extended in the 1970s. Its form was typical of a school of its era with five flat roofed classroom ‘pods’ arranged around the main hall. The pods each had two very small classrooms sharing a group room, resources space, cloak and toilet facilities. The classrooms were very cramped and the flat roofs were leaking in many places. It was apparent that the current teaching spaces were not only in poor condition but were also unsuitable for modern day teaching.

Working closely with the school to establish their needs and the shortfalls of their existing accommodation, TFQ identified that the most appropriate and economic solution for extending the school was to demolish three of the five pods and provide a new extension to house the accommodation required to provide a two form entry primary school. Following the completion of the feasibility study, TFQ were appointed to undertake the design of the proposed extension. This would accommodate ten classrooms, an ICT suite, a studio and a practical resources room as well as all the necessary toilets and storage. The tight budget and imposed target of less than £1,500 £/m2 meant that the plan form needed to be economic and efficient, therefore a two storey building seemed to be the most appropriate option.

The slope of the site meant that the first floor could be built at the same level as the remaining existing accommodation, whilst the ground floor would be at the same level as the existing playground further down the site.

The plan took the form of a central top lit atrium housing the ICT suite at the ground floor. Circulation wrapped around the atrium on both levels and afforded access to all the teaching spaces. Ancillary accommodation such as storage and toilets was tucked away to the rear of the extension where there was no natural light. The careful arrangement of accommodation, combined with the clever manipulation of natural light and ventilation resulted in a tight, efficient plan form providing well lit, airy teaching accommodation.

Both internally and externally, a simple yet bright palette of colours was employed, highlighting steel columns, wind catchers, infill panels, stair balustrades and teaching walls. Externally a combination of timber cladding, render and brick helped to break up the bulk of the building and relate it to it’s wider setting and the local materiality. The resulting building proved very popular with the staff, children and local community as it provided a colourful, comfortable and inspiring learning environment. As a result, TFQ were later commissioned to design and manage a pre-school extension to the school.

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