HKS Architects creates Northfleet's new school around a 'green heart'
Northfleet Technology College (NTC) is a new build school located in Gravesend, Kent and was part of the Kent BSF Programme. An innovative design solution was required to realise both NTC’s and Kent’s educational vision but also to work within the budgetary and challenging site constraints. A pastoral educational pedagogy was embraced by the school which has a technology specialism, this has been expressed through the new 170-metre-long colonnade facing Coyer Road with an arrangement of angled structural columns and a new student, staff, and community entrance that is manifest by the projecting 'Launch-Pad'.
To support the educational approach, flexible open plan teaching areas have been developed for each of the form entries that are housed within the north wing of the building footprint. Its positioning has responded to key site constraints; including changes in level and a construction phasing strategy that ‘tip-toed’ around the existing school buildings whilst in operation. The front wing houses all the specialist areas including sports, science, music, art, technology and the main entrance which upon entering the building provides the transitional link through to the external ‘green heart’ of the school.
The school has ambitions to build upon their new teaching methodology which supports project based learning; this also aligned with the schools aspirations to encourage students to get out and about in-between classes for fresh air. As a result we created external circulation throughout and introduced the savings back into the teaching areas. To provide shelter from the weather the roof profile projects into the central courtyard by approximately 4000mm. The school now has an exemplar education facility with the design response centred on creating an uncomplicated building which is easily adaptable and offers an inspiring teaching facility through the virtue of that simplicity.