Friday, 11 February 2011
Schools, transparency, stairs
I have been fortunate enough to go round the very newly opened St Michael's RC School in Bermondsey a couple of times in the past few days. Opened just about three weeks ago it is a fabulous building and already staff and students are really enjoying their new very professional environment. It was one of the sample schemes in the Southwark BSF programme and built by Balfour Beatty.
A key part of the concept was about transparency, wide circulation spaces and non hidden corners. The main stairs are a fab example of how this has been delivered. Flowing straight through main circulation areas, not tucked away in a dark corner, the stairs are visible from everywhere. The great use of glass, (one of my favourite materials), increases the transparency as well as the light and airy feel. The simple colour scheme with accent walls contribute to the business like design of the building.
What really is interesting is that it has already started to improve further already good behaviour. Staff have already admitted that they are now changing the age old routines established due to the constraints of the old building because of the way students are using the new spaces. It's all very interesting and a topic I will be writing more about in the near future, after they have had a bit more time in the building and once I have spoken to students about the differences.
This is a fab building - and you can just tell it is going to make a massive difference to those that use it. I just wish that everyone could have the school environments they were entitled to!