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Company - Atkins
Project - Lime Tree Primary Academy
Technology - Volumetric
Sector - Education
The brief for Lime Tree called for the existing post-war building to be demolished, saving the hall and administration areas, with a new build 1,638m extension containing classrooms, circulation areas, courtyards, a nursery, media room, library and dining room. This, however, tells only half the story. Lime Tree's designation as a 'National Support School' means its educational practices must be continually forward thinking - the design and use of volumetric technology helped to create the inspiring and flexible spaces Lime Tree needed to facilitate a wide variety of learning styles.
The school's status as a 'Forest School' also drove the design of the building so that it can encourage and inspire students through positive outdoor interactions. Finally, the building design was driven by environmental quality: ensuring that natural daylight, fresh air and the wider issues of environmental sustainability are embedded in the building's 'DNA'. The design for Lime Tree imagined the new development as a forest, with buildings, clearings and landscape combining to create a rich and varied environment for students to explore and learn. A series of pavilions are connected by a central canopied 'avenue', in turn connecting back into the existing school.
Each pavilion contains four classrooms and two toilets and is constructed from 13 prefabricated, flat-roofed, single-storey, steel modular units measuring approximately 10m x 3m, and offering an internal ceiling height of 3m. A total of 57 modules were constructed for the school. Through the use of off-site construction, Lime Tree stands as an exemplar product which could allow schools nationally to meet increasing demands for more capacity. Unlike other 'standard' solutions, the ability to combine standard units in different configurations enables unique and totally flexible solutions to meet differing school cultures and pedagogies. The fact that a school of the quality of Lime Tree was assembled off-site and literally delivered on the back of a truck, almost a year ahead of schedule, can serve as an inspiration for schools across the UK
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