Following a design competition in 2009, LCE Architects were commissioned in September 2009 to design an array of new teaching facilities for Chelmer Valley High School to accommodate an influx of new students from St Peters, a neighbouring secondary school in Chelmsford. The redevelopment of the school campus provides three new buildings: A Sixth Form Suite, a Technology building, and a Performing Arts faculty building.
All three buildings have distinct identities but are designed with a distinctive architectural theme, utilising a common palette of materials, to create a sense of unity and togetherness. The Sixth Form building is sited on the southern edge of the existing campus and enjoys panoramic views across the playing fields to Broomfield Parish Church and is orientated to complete the southern frontage of the campus and to create small court yards and in between spaces. It is rectangular in shape with a gently inclined mono pitch roof which staggers with other mono pitched roof buildings which together, by resonating each other, form a rhythmical frontage.
The accommodation is arranged on two stories to provide an economical shell which maximises the potential of its delightful setting. The ground floor contains the Common Room and toilets. The six large openings with sliding doors optimise best permeability and interpenetration from the campus to the grass field. A spill-out area paved with dark blue bricks before the grass field offers an extended space to enjoy the beautiful landscape. A large pond will be potentially developed the spill-out area in the future.
The timescales for completion of the building dictated a fast track construction strategy which has been realised by adopting a KLH cross laminated timber superstructure, which is clad in brickwork.The surfaces of the timber shell structure are expressed in the circulation areas and the underside of the roof deck providing a welcoming internal environment. The external appearance of the building is characterised by a robust brick superstructure punctuated by large aluminium window panels and features a striking timber brise soleil shading the upper floor glazing on the south elevation.