BSF school build begins in Bristol
Building work has begun on the redevelopment of Cotham School in Bristol, designed by leading school designers Walters and Cohen, as part of Bristol City Council’s £100 million project to rebuild five secondary schools and construct a new special school under Wave 4 of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.
Since receiving the CABE ‘Excellent’ rating for the school’s design, Walters and Cohen has continued collaborating with Bristol Local Education Partnership – which includes the project development and construction group Skanska – to deliver the substantial refurbishment and development of Cotham School.
The 22-month construction programme, which received planning permission in November 2008, is informed by the desire to replace existing school buildings that are no longer fit for purpose, and accommodate the increase in pupil numbers from 1296 to 1480. The design improves the use of the school’s outdoor spaces; a covered, external circulation spine connects the new building with the existing building, which simplifies student movement across the site and provides a range of external sports, teaching and social facilities and comfortable informal settings for student interaction.
The design process included extensive consultation with the client body, staff and students, which was an important part of establishing the brief. The design is a contemporary response to the existing handsome 1930s grammar school building and includes the introduction of some timber rain- and sun-screening for the external circulation.
Cindy Walters, Director of Walters and Cohen, said, “Our ambition for Cotham School is to create transformational teaching spaces that will accommodate growing pupil numbers and enable them to be used for different purposes. We hope that by creating this new environment, the students and staff will benefit greatly in terms of their learning and their enjoyment of the space.”