Earlham Primary School

A new two form entry primary school to replace the existing redundant building. For this scheme we exploited the benefits of an all modular solution with a high proportion of off-site construction, which resulted in a relatively short period on site with minimal disruption to the running of the school.




Spatial Initative



A new, predominately two storey building constructed on the site of an existing 1930’s two form entry primary school with nursery. The new building is placed on the site to form the north side of a new open courtyard creating positive connections with two existing buildings retained as part of the scheme; the Victorian classrooms for Year 6 pupils and a separate dining and kitchen block. The exterior of the building is of lightweight construction throughout, enabling it to be clad quickly and efficiently. It has brickwork to the ground floor with rendered cladding above. A brick slip and metal carrier cladding system was used for the brickwork. The front elevation containing the visitor entrance and forming the main street façade used brick cladding throughout so that it would reflect the architecture of the surroundings.

The elevations are broken up by panels of coloured render between the grey uPVC framed windows all with a shallow louvred panel above providing intake air for the mechanical air handling. Projecting metal brises soleil are fitted to head of first floor on the south facing elevation in order to reduce the potential solar gain to the rooms behind. The external render and metalwork use a palate of white, blue and yellow and these colours are taken into the internal finishes to unify the building.

The new building employed modular volumetric technology to reduce the construction period and ensure that the large majority of the work was the relatively unobtrusive internal fit-out. This minimized disruption to the school in general and the education of the pupils in particular. The chosen site for the new building minimized the scale of demolition prior to the delivery of the modular units, whilst their installation was completed in under two weeks. Once the new building was occupied, the balance of the site was freed up for the original building to be demolished and an attractive landscaping scheme carried out in its place.

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The Challenge

Producing an efficient plan solution based on a double banked corridor within the constraints of the modular system. This involved maintaining a regularity of module sizes whilst ensuring that the need to stack the modules did not disrupt the plan. At the same time the solution had to result in a building with attractive elevations that fitted into the urban landscape.

The Solution

We developed a very efficient plan in a simple rectangular form that sits alongside the existing building to be demolished. The building has two banks of classrooms with a wide central zone incorporating the WC’s, small group rooms and library areas. This enabled a regular grid to be used and uncluttered external elevations with regular fenestration to be developed.

The Outcome

After an intense period of consultation with both the school and Local Authority we have developed an efficient and affordable design solution which gained planning consent. The building was completed on site over the course of a single school year, demonstrating the benefits of the specified off-site technology.

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