The project aimed to deliver a landmark building to challenge engrained negative perceptions of the area: a new Sixth Form College and Public Library, located on the site of a Victorian Grade 2 Listed former Public Baths in Harpurhey, two miles from central Manchester, in the second most deprived ward in the country, scheduled for regeneration.
The building offers education and community facilities for the 21st century, providing both dedicated learning zones and shared public spaces. The building layout is open, simple and designed to allow passive supervision where education and social engagement can take place in an attractive, safe and accessible place.
The four storey building, with dramatic atrium at the entrance providing an immediate visual link to all areas of the building and with clear views outside, uses a flat slab concrete frame structure which allows great versatility to room layouts and building services, with the ability to easily reconfigure spaces in response to changing curriculum uses and learning styles. The physical quality of the learning environment uses a robust and high quality palette of materials with low maintenance requirements.
The design is pioneering in its use of integrated sustainable features aimed to reduce C02 emissions. These include photovoltaic panels, both roof mounted and as south facing cladding, roof mounted active/solar arrays, rainwater harvesting, thermal mass from the exposed concrete frame which, together with natural ventilation and bms control, enables night time cooling for summer months and a heat store during winter. The buildings external fabric is highly insulated.
Awards: BREEAM, RIBA Building Feature, MCC Libraries Renewal Flagship, International Green Apple Award, Design Benchmark for £1b + BSF schemes.
RIBA LSC National Design Excellence Award. Judges` comment extract: `The key strategic decision to combine the college with the public library …… has effectively created a new building type`