Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen Comprehensive School wins the UK BREEAM Education Award

Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen Comprehensive School wins the UK BREEAM Education Award

07.03.13

The Scott Brownrigg designed Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen Comprehensive School in Bridgend County Borough Wales has won the 2013 UK BREEAM Education Award. 

The awards are made annually to the highest scoring building assessments certified under BREEAM Schemes. In recognising those buildings which demonstrate a holistic approach to the environmental aspects of their specification, design and construction, the BREEAM Education Award acknowledge the achievements of all those involved in the school and its realisation.    

With a passive design strategy and the incorporation of a number of sustainable technologies, Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating at design stage with an impressive score of 89.82%, the school is also being used as an exemplar project for the Low Carbon Research Institute.

Neil MacOmish, Group Director at Scott Brownrigg’s Cardiff office said: 

“We are delighted that Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen has been recognised at these high profile national sustainability awards.  The school was conceived to be one of the most sustainable secondary schools in the UK from the outset, and aimed to be the first high school in the UK to achieve a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating. Working closely with the entire team, Bridgend County Borough Council, the stakeholders and the wider community has been an exceptional experience and has allowed this wonderful outcome to be achieved.  We are very proud to have helped deliver a school that not only the council, but Wales can be proud of.  The design concept and materials are very much rooted to the context and history of the site, occupying part of a former colliery. Conceived as a series of “colleges” grouped around a community “heart space” - the geometries are derived from existing axes and from specific references to elements found within the existing context. The composition of the forms are conceived in black brickwork, render and trespa panels; the black brickwork represents the coal extraction,  the trespa panels represent the forest from where this came, whilst the white render is a modernist expression of context. The Learning Resource Centre acts as the entrance signal - a “floating drum” and hinge which ties the angular geometries together".

Jointly funded by Bridgend County Borough Council and the Welsh Government as part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools initiative, the £34m school represents one of the largest single investments in a shared community and education building in Wales. 

Procured through the new South East Wales Schools’ Capital group (SEWSCAP) Contractor Framework for schools and public buildings, it provides an exemplar project for Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW). 

As well as accommodating the 1,570 pupil school, the 30 acre site incorporates a 600 sq m dedicated community facility which houses a café, a multi-agency hub, child care unit and various other community activities. 

The colleges support the schools-within-a-school concept and can operate almost as individual schools.  This also allows the school to close and open sections of the building, allowing for community engagement throughout the day and for control of the building out of school hours.

Large open spaces take the place of corridors, with both the client and school embracing an educational transformation philosophy.  Movable partitions throughout the school will create flexible spaces and transform the way in which students learn. Bridge structures will pass through the Learning Resource Centre at the second floor and also link the central atrium space to the Design Technology College to the north of the site.  Second floor roof terraces, including one designated as the sculpture garden for the art department, interact with the public realm to the west of the site.  

A passive supervision strategy will reduce the need for CCTV and help generate a positive culture within the school, eradicating bullying opportunities.

The campus will also provide quality sports facilities for use by both the school and the wider community.  One of two artificial pitches will be a 3G pitch.

A high quality external learning landscape will include covered canopies, swales and a trim trail, whilst a public plaza will link the school, community facilities and the existing Ynysawdre pool together. 

Head of Strategy, Partnerships and Commissioning, at Bridgend County Borough Council, Trevor Guy stated: “We are extremely pleased with the finished design of the school and community facilities, however, it is not just about the building, but also about what the outcomes will be for the young people and families in the community.  Scott Brownrigg and the team quickly demonstrated an understanding of what we were trying to achieve, its importance in terms of our school modernisation programme and the impact it will have not just on the area in which it is located, but the county borough of Bridgend as a whole. Consultation at the design stage with stakeholders and the wider community has been exceptional; whilst the ability of the team to work collaboratively enabled us achieve our start on site date, ensuring we will open the doors to our students and the community in September 2013”.

Andrew Warren, Headteacher at Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen comments: “Scott Brownrigg’s design is truly stunning. The team has a real and deep understanding of how space can be used to support educational innovation and transformation. Much more than this though, from my point of view, has been the truly exceptional level of engagement that Scott Brownrigg has had with the whole of the school and wider community.  It has been the enthusiasm and genuine excitement of the Scott Brownrigg team, for this project, that has been instrumental in making this project a total success from the school’s point of view.  Without this level of real engagement, real partnership, and real energy, we would not be where we are now - poised to occupy the most iconic and world class building that will support all of the many curricular, pedagogical and relationship transformations that we wish to introduce, that we would simply be unable to deliver without the fabulous design that we have been a part in producing.  There is no doubt that we will shortly have the best school building in Wales, and quite probably the UK” .

The school is due to be handed over in September 2013 and has been delivered in a single construction phase - a design and delivery process which has saved a year on the original programme and facilitates an early occupation and demolition of the existing premises. 

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