Stormont House School is a mixed day special needs school for 100 pupils aged 11-16, who have a complex range of special educational needs, ranging from emotional, learning and communication needs. The brief was for 4,133m2 of new build construction, accommodating years 7 to 11 with 120 pupils. We developed a detailed brief working in consultation with the school and designed and constructed under the Scape Framework.
The challenge of doubling the school area on this already tight urban site, while maintaining sufficient external space essential to the school ethos, has lead to a unique design. This is a 3-storey solution that is not typical in an SEN school, but was developed in careful consultation with the school’s senior management team. The relationship between spaces and the passive management of these types of pupils is critical and these were successfully resolved in the design. The unique three-storey solution allowed sufficient external areas for the school which would not have been possible with a lower building.
Creating a nurturing environment for the 120 pupils with very particular special needs has meant a close collaboration between architectural form, programmatic response and relationship between internal and external spaces. From the light touch of the internal facades and stepped massing, to the strong frontage, this building is formed by its context for its users. The building is constructed of mellow brick, evoking calm and permanence, its monolith excised by the atrium.
“Our new school is tribute to how amazingly well the architects ‘got’ both the needs and aspirations of our special school community; ‘ achievement for all in a unique world-class school.’ Each of the many previous positives has been re-imagined, improved and made coherent, with new facilities that we could only have dreamt of. Visitors remark on the quality of light, the finishes, and the welcome the space holds for learners.
Our students are clearly proud to now attend school in a building that is first among equals; that alone is priceless.”
Kevin McDonnell, Head Teacher