St Dominics Independent School

Holloway Foo were appointed by St Dominic’s Independent Girls School acting as their single point of contact for the design and delivery of their new Sixth Form and Performing Art Centre.

What we delivered

An opportunity for Dominic’s Independent Girls School to grow its education offering by creating an award-winning inspirational learning centre to house the sixth form and Performing Art Centre.

Working alongside renowned heritage consultant, David Burton Pye OBE, we created a piece of modern architecture in a conservation area, which juxtaposed with the school’s adjacent buildings that dated back to the 1850s.

What was the initial brief?

To develop a new sixth form that would allow St Dominic’s to extend its curriculum to parents and offer continuous education from preparatory school to the start of their higher education lives.

The school wanted to create a signature building, including classrooms, common room, a dedicated music performance room and dance studio. Elevating its regional profile by highlighting its ethos for quality and focus on providing the best facilities in order to achieve high standards of education.

How we did it

The school invited us to act as its lead consultant and a trusted single point of contact between the staff and governors, the design team and the contractor.

We worked closely with the school governing body to establish a briefing framework, allowing us to understand their requirements and their budget, as well as arrive at the optimum size of the building based on their vision, immediate requirements and future needs.

Closely defining St Dominic’s long-term vision informed our approach, which meant the ideal place to build the new sixth form was moved to a new location to give the school the opportunity of future expansion.

Once the location was selected, we met regularly with students, the school council, governors, the local authority and the community to develop a design around a south facing garden, featuring a sixth form balcony and a central internal core where all the rooms radiated from.

Our solution was to study the language of the adjacent buildings dating back to the 1850s and juxtapose them with a piece of modern architecture.

Our design resolves the complex demands of locating a modern building within a conservation area and adjacent to historic school buildings.

We secured planning approval with members of the planning committee describing our design as ’ a sensitive well thought through response.’

The project was awarded Best Overall Building at the 2009 Staffordshire Design Awards.

What the client thought

Sandra White, St Dominic’s Independent School Headteacher:

“We are pleased with the award-winning outcome. The new sixth form and performing arts studios have been provided in an exciting new building which, through careful use of materials, views and daylight remind our girls daily about the schools heritage and vision for the future.”

2016 saw the building seventh birthday. As part of our post occupancy commitment to clients we visited the school to see how the school was performing.

Caretaker Martin Pemberton said :

” The build quality of this building is excellent. The girls and staff really enjoy this building and care for it. In the last seven years I have literally had nothing to do.”

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