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18/01/2011
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Sharrow Primary School

Sheffield

Design process

The design team are all from the Council’s in-house consultancy organisation, Sheffield Design and Project Management. The project architect, Cath Basilio already had a track record of designing four previous schools incorporating a variety of sustainability features.

The procurement route selected was ‘partnering’ and the main contractor was selected through a written submission and interview process. This enabled the design team to work closely with the contractor to maximise buildability and value for money. It also helped to secure a fairly rapid start on site.

The architect spent time in the existing school environments shadowing staff and pupils and really hearing what did and did not work for them. This expanded upon earlier work by pupils, staff, parents and governors funded by the Children’s Fund, which included building visits and photographic studies. Consultation used a mixture of meetings, exhibitions and workshops, drawings, models and computer visualisations (still and animated) to involve people at all levels.

The computer model developed was an interactive NAVISWORKS model which produced a recorded animation for simple playback at presentations but was also fully interactive and could be navigated by users. This simple technique allowed the opportunity to see the building design inside and out.

The Sharrow Construction Buddies are teddy bears called Brix and Morta who were introduced to the project as an imaginative way to engage with the children. They reported decisions and progress, collected feedback and blogged what they had done, who they had met and what they learned. Topics like the schools’ ground source heating and rainwater harvesting were explored as well as site visits and local events. They had an email so they could be contacted by children and parents. The buddies are still active on the project and provided continuity from the early design stage.

The sustainability agenda was undertaken in partnership with the Green Roof Forum and was part of a wider initiative to develop and promote expertise in the construction and maintenance of green roofs.

The furniture maker Andrew Skelton used materials from the demolition of the infant school to make furniture for the new school. The main items he designed and manufactured were the reception desk and benches in the entrance (made from glulam - laminated and glued timber beams), the entrance gates, and seating in the garden at the front of the school. The forms and colours he used have been carried through to the design of the entrance gates by the architect.