St Polycarp’s RC Primary School

The main design focus at St Polycarp’s was always to create an attractive and welcoming building, as per the aspirations of the School’s stakeholders. To achieve this, the design team both remodelled the existing facilities and extend the school buildings to provide modern teaching, social and administration spaces. This included new teaching areas that encourage group learning and school integration, state of the art IT and Food Technology facilities, new multi-purpose hall spaces that serve both the school and the local community, and a compact layout to minimize circulation and in which new and existing buildings and external spaces are logically and strongly related.

Alongside our usual Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health design work, Elementa put a strong emphasis on a sustainable, environmentally sound school which achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’. This is notably facilitated through the use of Dynamic Thermal Modelling of the school, allowing the design to achieve BREEAM credit HEA10 through a maximisation of thermal comfort within the school building. Our approach uses passive design to ensure the maximum energy efficiency and sustainability with minimum capital expenditure: the use of a comprehensive natural ventilation strategy using stack effect cross ventilation to the class rooms provides an airy environment that is at once welcoming and comfortable, as well as aiding learning and development.

The ventilation strategy is mostly simple opening windows, with each room provided with interactive CO2 detector giving teaching staff RED/AMBER/GREEN colour coded feedback on conditions as well as the added benefit of being able to control their environment.

Ground Floor classrooms of the two storey section required a more complex stack effect ventilation strategy. Again in this instance we have looked to minimise automatic control by using CO2 indicators but with automatic controls for the stack effect solution to ensure its correct operation.

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