DMA's new extension aims to improve the cooking & dining experience
DMA was commissioned to develop designs for the government’s Cooking Spaces Initiative to promote health and well-being and expand the practical ‘seed to plate’ experience of cooking beyond the statutory curriculum requirements. It was to provide: a high level of service to all members of the school community; educate the students about food and health; develop enterprise and workplace skills for all students and the wider community. The brief in essence was to build a new hospitality suite on an isolated position on the site within the school that would allow students to host events, enterprise activities and invite the community in.
The project had a very strict budget and completion target, so the main drive was to consider options to deliver fast and imaginatively without defaulting to a role out of standardised methods. The building form therefore is very simple using fast track assembly systems and dry construction methods. On the external façade of the building we have used a wide aperture mesh with the pattern running vertically to add visual impact and allow the three-dimensional nature of the mesh to provide a variety of reflections.
The mesh also is intended to, over time, allow plants to creep up the skin of the building emphasising the seed to plate philosophy associated with the Cooking Spaces Programme as well as giving a lightweight decorative veil to the building and casting dappled shadows within akin to the surrounding tree foliage.
The building design at Virgo Fidelis aspires to be a focal point for engagement between the school and the wider community. It aims to provide a space of empowerment to the 6th form students, through its material usage, flexible programme and intimate volume which establishes a different typology to that associated with the rest of the school’s teaching and learning spaces.