Design Engine Architects

Design Engine Architects

Winchester, GB


Les Beaucamps High School, Guernsey

Won in limited competition in 2003, this new secondary school for SED sits on the site of the existing campus. Designed for minimal disruption, the existing school curriculum was able to continue uninterrupted whilst the new school was built over two phases. The design settles into a sloping site, offering terraced floorplans linked by internal and external courtyards and strong landscape treatment. This school represents an evolution in exemplar school design, first developed by the directors in two new schools in Jersey in the 1990s.

The States Education Department’s brief was to provide a teaching environment for 660 students on a site where the existing school building had to remain in operation during construction. Educationally a courtyard arrangement was briefed to give benefits including a safe inclusive environment, subliminal way-finding, better control of environments for management, teaching and wellbeing as well as the obvious environmental benefits of natural light, natural ventilation and protected space. As well as providing excellent teaching rooms, particular attention was to be given to the external areas between buildings, circulation and social space.

In addition to the school building, which is located on the sloping site overlooking spectacular sea views of Cobo Bay to the West. A separate sports building to the East, is to include a swimming pool, sports hall and gymnasium. The two buildings are connected by a covered link and sit either side of the sports pitches and a central Multi-Use Games Area. The project was split into two construction phases, the School Building and the Sports Building.

Attention has been paid to the overall design of the building to minimise energy consumption and improve the internal environment within the school. This has been achieved through the following design principles:

  • Natural ventilation
  • Thermal mass
  • Natural daylighting
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Solar hot water heating
  • Heat recovery Rainwater collection
  • Promotion of cycling
  • Awareness of energy use

“The architects have taken a difficult design challenge: a school on a site with a twelve metre change of level, and have crafted a complex yet coherent architectural whole. The exterior of the building adopts a neutral palette, browny brick and dark zinc roofs and chimneys. The effect is to dissolve a quite large building when seen from a distance. Closer to it unfolds as a carefully choreographed architectural experience wherein the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. It is a building to be experienced rather than looked at, providing an exemplar for school procurement and provision that puts most current UK practice to shame.” RIBA Awards Citation 2013, Les Beaucamps High School.

Winner RIBA Award, RIBA Client of the Year 2013, Civic Trust Award 2014, Guernsey Design Award 2014.

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Status: Built
Location: St Peter Port Guernsey
Firm Role: Architect & interior designer
Additional Credits: Structural Engineer: Peter Brett
Specification Writer: John Ahern
Fire Consultant: Ramboll Safe
Acoustic Consultant: Hoare Lea
Landscape Consultant: UBU
Furniture Consultant: British Thorntorn