Jestico + Whiles completes school building with a heart
The Academy's highest priority is to provide an environment which ‘excites, motivates, and challenges' its students. It was limited by its existing buildings, seen in Channel 4's acclaimed series Educating Essex, which were out-dated and unsuited to delivery of a modern curriculum. The brief for the new Passmores was for a faculty-based school with a central gathering space, off which the rest of the school opens; the look and feel to be a 'shopping centre school', a term coined not flippantly, but to indicate their desire for a modern environment where all facilities are accessible from the central space.
Jestico + Whiles design response of a radial plan with a communal gathering area or ‘Heartspace' at its centre- which includes the assembly hall, dining, library and Inclusion faculties - generated unanimity from the client: it matched their vision: "one building, one community, one purpose".
The combination of materials selected, cedar cladding, blue-grey brick and glass has resonance with the Harlow palette, but are handled in a contemporary way with coloured accents of vivid purple walls to the end of each wing and yellow brise-soleil shading and window trims give a clean and fresh aesthetic. Natural ventilation, thermal mass, brown roofs and biomass boilers reduce the environmental impact.
"In the first term, we have seen 80% reduction in incidents caused by poor behaviour, 300% increased uptake of school meals and 3-4 minute increase in teaching time per lesson due to improved movement around the building. Just one of those factors alone would be remarkable, but taken together they show just how much of a success the work of all of the people involved in creating the new Passmores has been. Jestico + Whiles designed a building that not only matched our ambitions, but pushed them even higher" (Vic Goddard - Head Teacher).