Alec Reed Academy by Foster+Partners: A School Building with A Steel Frame Structure

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 6

Located in Northolt, United Kingdom, Alec Reed Academy is built on the site of Compton High School and Sports College. Designed by Foster+Partners to create a sense of continuity and community between the different age groups of the students, this school building consists of a fluid sequence of spaces. The steel frame structure of this school building has pre-cast concrete floors and also clad in warm red cedarwood to create a robust and energy-efficient building.

Design

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 1

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 2

Completed in 2006 with 15,520m² in size, this school building accommodates more than 1,300 students and 200 staff. It also has an inclusive and awesome approach to education, bringing together a community sports center, adult-learning facilities, a nursery, and also the John Chilton School for children with special needs. 

A fluid sequence of spaces in this building is arranged along a central spine, designed to provide an ideal place to create a sense of continuity and community. The spine is lit by an angled east-facing clerestory and full-height glazing naturally, integrating a range of informal teaching areas, light-filled social spaces, and a canteen.

 

Spaces

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 3

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 4

The curved shape of the building can shield the classrooms from the noise and pollution of the A40 road. There is a northern elevation that solid while the southern facade is glazed to allow stunning views and to reinforce the Academy’s specialist focus on enterprise and sport. Each of six classrooms wings from the central spine has its own double-height internal courtyard.

‘Enterprise Zones’ in this school building are the flexible spaces that provide informal teaching areas for each year group. There are also spaces between each volume of the building to provide sheltered open-air play areas. The upper-level classrooms are arranged over two storeys and can be accessed from a glazed elevated walkway.

 

Materials

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 5

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 6

Alec Reed Academy By Foster Partners 7

This school building is designed with a steel frame structure that has pre-cast concrete floors, clad in warm red cedar wood and harvested from renewable sources. This structure can create a robust and energy-efficient building. At the end of each wing, the bands of timber form brise soleil. These bands also unify the whole composition and shade the glazed walls.

The roof of the building projects, creating a deep canopy over the entrance. The air is drawn through the building via an undercroft to aid natural ventilation while the building management system reduces the electricity use with lighting controls and advanced heating.

 

Alec Reed Academy Gallery

 

Photography: Foster+Partners

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