Archbishop Sentamu Academy
Kingston upon Hull
Designed by HKS Architects.
5 November 2009
Overall design quality rating: not yet good enough
This proposal offers an uplifting architecture with good civic presence. The compact, multi-storey arrangement enables a site layout that creates a range of well-organised external spaces and integrated access routes. The designation of the drain as an educational resource is positive; setting the base of the building at an elevated level is a sensible strategy to address the flood conditions. The rational internal planning accommodates a variety of learning spaces that support flexible ICT use and potential future adaptability. The undulating ETFE roof offers daylight into the lightwells, but an effective integrated ventilation solution has not yet been achieved to address the deep plan layout. The elevations contribute to a confident street presence delivering the local authority’s aspiration for a landmark building, but do not yet address the practicalities of downpipes, the efficiency of metal over-cladding or bulk of structure required to support the dramatic cantilever. At the next stage, careful detailing and investment will be required to realise the school’s monumental appearance. Given the extensive quantity of insulated render and the climate of Hull, the specification of materials will also be critical to ensure an attractive, high quality and long-lasting school building.