Sandal Magna Community Primary School
by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

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Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects designed this school in Wakefield, England, using red bricks and industrial building shapes that reflect the surrounding vernacular.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The Sandal Magna Community Primary School was constructed using timber and bricks, while the landscaping utilises reclaimed bricks from the demolished Victorian school that the building replaces.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The bell from the old school building now hangs in a new bell tower in the centre of the site.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Classroom blocks and the school hall have asymmetrical roof profiles that accommodate ventilation stacks.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Allotments behind the classrooms allow children to grow plants and vegetables.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The library is contained behind a screen of timber louvres.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The school provides education for children up to the age of 11 and a community room for adult education.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The school is close to the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery that was completed earlier this year by David Chipperfield - see our earlier story.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Photography is by Mark Hadden.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

See more stories about schools on Dezeen »

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Here's some more information provided by the architects:


Sandal Magna Community Primary School in Wakefield opened in October 2010 and recently won a RIBA Award. The new school is one of the most carbon efficient schools in the UK.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects were appointed by Wakefield Council to design a replacement for the Victorian Sandal Magna Primary School, which had come to the end of its life.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The new building accommodates 210 pupils aged between 5-11 years alongside nursery provision for 26 children. The school also contains a community room for use by parents for adult education and other activities, and has been designed to permit expansion in the future to a 315 place school.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The brief called for high quality sustainable design addressing: functionality, sustainability, buildability, efficiency, aesthetics and durability.  After several site visits and meetings with Wakefield Council, the school, staff, parents, the local community and other stakeholders, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects established the following key issues which would inform the design of the new school:

    » importance of new identity for the school with a positive street presence
    » maintain a sense of history and memory (a new bell tower for the old bell)
    » provide a welcoming building for students, parents and teachers
    » site security and robustness of materials
    » scale and relationship of new building to the site
    » flexibility of spaces within the new building
    » provision of a variety of play spaces
    » importance of a community space
    » importance of energy efficiency and sustainability

 

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

The school’s design takes its cue from its vernacular surroundings, and is laid out as three parallel single storey wings that reference the surrounding pattern of terraced houses and back streets. The red brick of those terraces is also used extensively throughout the school. Along the teaching block, sturdy ventilation stacks echo the rooflines of neighbouring houses while, at the centre of the site, the school is crowned by a striking new bell tower evoking the tall chimneys of Wakefield’s industrial heritage.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

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The overall design, however, is highly contemporary. A range of cladding materials such as raw timber, weatherboarding and corrugated rainscreens is used to denote different uses within the school, and adds further interest to the sharp, angular geometries of the building.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Click above for larger image

Inside the school, services and building elements such as ventilation, soundproofing, sprinklers and a rainwater harvesting system are all proudly visible. This is quite deliberate: part of the brief was to make the building a demonstrative tool to form part of the curriculum for learning about buildings and sustainability.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Click above for larger image

Funding was secured from the former DCSF Standards Fund for a range of low carbon measures at the school. The sustainability features of the school include:

    » completely natural ventilation
    » a ground source heat pump to provide heating, hot water and cooling
    » 100 sq m of photovoltaic solar panels to power the ground source heat pump
    » a masonry structure providing thermal mass throughout the classrooms
    » reuse of reclaimed bricks from the old school in retaining walls and garden features
    » a set of allotments for pupils within the school grounds

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Click above for larger image

A key aim of the design was to produce a safe learning environment for the pupils. The flexible classroom design and “street” layout of the school encourages different numbers and age groups of children to meet and learn together, while the main circulation space between the classrooms, ICT and library spaces is an additional learning hub. The layout avoids hidden corners and blind spots, and careful thought has been given to landscaping to provide different types of outdoor play space including areas for learning, planting, quiet zones and games. Each classroom has direct access to the outdoor playgrounds and views to the surrounding landscape.

Sandal Magna Community Primary School by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Click above for larger image

Sarah Wigglesworth said:

“I am so proud of Sandal Magna Community Primary School. As our first completed school it’s a milestone for our practice. In our work we strive to produce thoughtful, low-energy buildings that are simple to use, cherished by their occupants and economical to run and maintain. I hope we have achieved that at Sandal Magna and demonstrated that we can apply our architectural principles on a larger scale.”

  • chicken dippers

    Comment part 1
    Fed up with year after year after year of the architectural mafia establishment on the Stirling Shortlist…? Stirling Prize for me typifies what is so wrong with architecture today. Meaningless and superficial…! When Michael Gove babbles about architects 'creaming off' fees architects stood together in abhorrence of this statement. Quite right…! But I wonder what the fees were on the Evelyn Grace Academy. I wonder what the budget was… Zaha Hadid last year exclaimed..”PROFITS DOWN” on the front of the weekly architectural news: I Laughed Out Loud. Maybe the finger was pointing at practices like these who are so widely publicised due to accolades such as Stirling oiling their machines..

  • chicken dippers

    Comment part 2
    Practices like Sarah Wigglesworth Architects work so hard for so little I wonder what, if any, profit they actually make when they strive for life changing architecture such as the Sandal Magna School. When Accordia won the prize it looked like things might change. How wrong you can be. What a travesty that practices and projects like this just don’t make the Stirling shortlist….

    Its SO great to see a great project like this, a school, a design that really is about the people that use it and not the egos of the architects or the banks that sponsor it. No slick details or glass sharp concrete arrisses. Is this all we must have for architecture to be great…? I’ve been to see many of Le Corbusier’s works in my time and I can tell you they aren’t slick in the least. But monumental they are… STILL, and after so many years: falling down, withered, and beaten many of them are but monumental STILL nonetheless. Will the same be said of any of this year’s Stirling Shortlist in 50 years?

  • chicken dippers

    Comment part 3
    Sandal Magna School is monumental in its own way: For the way it challenges the establishment on how schools can be designed well on a tight budget; for the way that it proves architecture matters without being superficial and slick; for striving to make a difference.

    What about an ANTI-STIRLING PRIZE next year for architecture that really matters, or why don’t we just bang our heads on the wall for another year….

    • Crackerjack

      Wow long comment…but yeah I agree with pretty much everything you've said.

  • nicole

    maybe a more playfull and less rigid fence?

  • zee

    wonderful project ! ! !
    seems like a true place (a rarity these days).
    just hoping the summer will bring more greenery/trees?

  • Tom Ford

    "Allotments behind the classrooms allow children to grow plants and vegetables." But only after they brake through the coloured concrete with their little pneumatic drills.
    "The library is contained behind a screen of timber louvres." Wow, really?

  • vikk

    nice photos too..

  • Cubasur

    Love it. Go Sarah!

    unrelated note – have to LOL on the window sill detail with the corner rounded off…typical H&S to overprotect kids from themselves!

  • amsam

    Lots of great and laudable ideas here, but all sort of slapped together– looks a bit of a mess to be honest.

  • Vix

    Fantastic Project! Beautiful details and photography – well done again SWARCH!

  • MABA

    It looks like 100 ideas were smashed into one project.. too bad..

  • some one

    it needs a biger playground