The new school, which is sponsored by the Academy at Shotton Hall and East Durham College, is a new centre of learning for 300 students between the ages of 14 and 18. Alongside studying for vocational qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels, the students will benefit from working with local employers on real-life business projects as part of the curriculum.
One of the aspirations of the Academy is to create a ‘close-knit, family environment’ where personal discipline, respect and care for the community is prioritised.
Reflecting these aspirations, Jefferson Sheard’s design replaces the traditional classroom format with a flexible, contemporary layout which has the feel of a ‘hub’ – a place for collaboration and the exchange of ideas.
A careful selection of furnishings and architectural elements enables the space to remain flexible and unconstrained. The idea is to get as much transparency into the scheme, so instead of fixed walls, screens break up the open space. Coloured motifs applied in film to these screens provide an element of privacy and the ‘cubist’ motif is an extension of the College’s branding.
Sally Hudson, Principal at the Apollo Studio Academy, said: “The learning space created works extremely well for the Academy and our distinctive style of teaching.
“I’m particularly pleased with the way the architects have maximised the available light. The space feels so light and airy; and we can already see the positive effect the new build is having on our students’ enthusiasm to learn.
“I’d like to thank the team at Jefferson Sheard for their valuable contribution in helping us set up this exciting new school. The school is going to have a fantastic impact on the lives of many young people over the coming years.”
Jefferson Sheard Architects partnered with Kier to deliver this project on time and within budget.