Atkins - Dean Trust Ardwick

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Project Details

Project - Dean Trust Ardwick
Sector - Education
Architect - Atkins  
Technology - Volumetric Modular


Project Overview

Manchester is experiencing higher rates of growth than any other core city, seeing a population increase of 19% between 2001 and 2011. All forecasts for the city predict continued growth over the next 10 years. A strong and successful school system, where residents have access to a choice of high quality schools within their local area, is central to the City’s ambition to make Manchester increasingly attractive to people as a place to work, live and bring up children.

As a consequence of this growth and ambition to provide additional quality school places, especially within inner city areas, Manchester have been busy rolling out a significant primary school development plan. Many of these children are now approaching secondary school age, with a substantial increase in demand for secondary places expected from 2016 onwards. Urgent demand for school places and focusing development on inner city brownfield sites means little margin for construction time and limited space for mobilisation. These are two key factors that led to the exploration of an off-site modular solution that could deliver this ambitious school programme on time and within budget.

Dean Trust Ardwick is the first of these modular secondary schools to be delivered. Developed on the site of the former Daisy Mill, the 1,200 place, 8,125m² secondary school needed to open its doors in September 2016, with the first engagement session only taking place in February 2015.

The challenge in creating a modular secondary school is achieving the numerous large hall spaces required (Sports Halls, Main Hall, Dining, LRC etc). At DTA this was further enhanced by the school’s aspiration for integrating community use sports facilities. A hybrid construction approach was quickly established, combining the benefits of volumetric off-site construction with the practicalities of traditional building methods.

The challenge of two construction types was embraced and used to enhance the architectural design. Trying to achieve the most efficient allocation of accommodation to each technique helped add clarity to the proposals. Distinct general teaching blocks were formed by the modules, the proportion and regularity of the facades used to emulate the character of the old Daisy Mill building that previously occupied the site. Traditional steel frame construction was used to form the large halls and core atrium spaces that stitch the teaching blocks together while expressing the main entrances and community use facilities. The two elements combined, wrap around a secure central courtyard that opens on one side creating views out towards the landscaped outdoor play areas and sports pitches.


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