Now complete, The Palgrave Centre at Meynell Primary School, Sheffield is designed to meet a limited budget and delivered under tight government deadlines.
Taking the existing Palgrave Centre in Sheffield, we rejuvenated the building to create a space were children with profound and challenging needs could feel safe, as well as stimulated through child-orientated architecture.
The building has also proved to be very popular with the local community, as well as the clients, and it has been used in different and exciting ways.
To overhaul, re-plan and extend the existing Palgrave Centre providing new teaching facilities that would allow children’s centres and primary schools to work together to ensure some of the most challenging children can have wraparound and uninterrupted education.
Built in a very short academic window the design allowed construction to be carried out with minimum disruption to a live school site.
Working with multiple stakeholders, including children’s charity NCH (now Action for Children), Sheffield City Council and Meynell Primary School, we initially carried out a feasibility appraisal to assess whether it was best to extend the existing Palgrave Centre, or start anew.
In order to understand budgets, the optimum size of building, immediate requirements and future needs, we met with NCH regional surveyors and case managers, and then created a framework for development.
After defining these objectives we worked alongside the school to develop alternative options, gather information and feedback, as well as address, analyse and refine the design.
Our design approach set out to create a stimulating space for learning using children scale architectural solutions.
This work enabled us to expand the brief and re-appraise the way the design was arranged and how rooms interacted, with the aim of allowing staff to enjoy optimum teaching performance from the building.
We were also very aware that of creating a building which was approachable, non institutional and familiar to the children.
The design featured flexible and well-lit teaching spaces that individually linked to the outdoor teaching zones. Care was also taken to use economic materials to create a sense of quality and unexpected scale, while maximising environmental benefits.
Using internal interactive walls, sliding panels, swing doors, mirrored spaces and high quality LED lighting sequences we were able to create an animated centre aimed at stimulating the ever-wondering mind of children.
NCH Regional Surveyor, John Noble, said: