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Lickey End First School, Bromsgrove

A common problem facing architects briefed with designing school extensions is how to marry the old with the new in a sympathetic way. 

This was precisely the situation facing Ian Wilson of Howl Associates Ltd for a new scheme at Lickey End First School in Bromsgrove, where there was a requirement for two new classrooms and facilities to an existing Victorian school. The interface between the new and existing buildings required careful consideration as the new scheme is wedged in between the existing school, wildlife garden, school car park and the main road, with the added complication of significant level changes on site. The brief also included introducing light and ventilation into one of the existing classrooms.

The link between the existing and new buildings was paramount to the project’s success, and the design solution came in the form of an 8m curved array of rooflights incorporating 14 dark grey bespoke Plateau Rooflights from the Rooflight Company. The rooflights not only afford a visual solution, read more but also flood the linking space below with natural light, so that artificial light is only required at night and on the dullest of days. The issue of ventilation was easily solved by the provision of five manually-operated casements via a simple pole winder mechanism.

The success of the rooflight installation relied on close co-ordination between design drawings, contractor and fabricator, with tight tolerances having to be met at all stages to ensure each rooflight link sat directly over a timber roof joist. To facilitate accurate installation, the rooflights were delivered early to site to ensure the joiners were able to lay them out correctly. Additional attention to detail was required internally as the plaster finish of the curved wall continues up seamlessly to meet the rooflight frame.

A major element of the new design was the sedum roof over the new classrooms, which has been received enthusiastically by locals as they look over the school from above; some commenting that it looks like a newly-planted field. As well as the well-known eco-properties of sedum, rainwater attenuation was achieved resulting in minimal disruption of the established wildlife garden by reducing the size of the soakaway required.

In the existing Victorian building, dating back to 1894, additional natural light and ventilation was introduced by means of two pairs of linked Conservation Rooflights® which were installed in two newly created light wells. The new rooflights sit flush in the roof and do not detract from the typical Victorian gables.

Ian is extremely happy with the result, not only because the project was completed on time, but also because the installation of the rooflights went so smoothly. 

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