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Penrhyn Church in Wales VC School


Appointed by WRW Construction, Lawray were commissioned to design and deliver a 21st Century Primary School in a rural setting on the Pembrokeshire Coast.

The Brief

Lawray were approached by WRW Construction to support their bid to design and construct a new 120 place Primary School for pupils aged 4-11 years.  The school was to also include a 20 place Nursery and be flexible to accommodate out of hours community use.

The site was located adjacent to an existing Primary School on a greenfield site and the new school building was to include for seven classrooms, quiet room, library, multi-purpose hall, kitchen, cloakrooms, offices and staffroom. Externally the scheme was to include for hard and soft play areas, a new MUGA, grassed sports pitch, and habitat areas.  The new School was to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

WRW were tasked with preparing a fully compliant tender with a design solution with cost certainty at the bid stage.  It was therefore paramount that the design team supported the contractor team to develop a design to RIBA Stage 2 in order to obtain budget costs from an early stage.

Our Solution

Working within the constraints of the existing site boundary and topography, we were able to quickly establish some key design principles including access, circulation in and around the site and optimised orientation and levels.  The solution was to provide 2 plateaus to reduce the amount arisings being removed from site.  The upper plateau providing the sports pitches with the school itself and associated hard/soft play, drop off points and parking on the lower plateau where the entrance point was dictated by highways safety.  In response to the Welsh Government and Constructing Excellence In Wales’s push for optimised school solutions to ensure continuity and cost certainty, we spent considerable time on this scheme to develop and roll out our optimised solution.   Some of the key design factors within our optimised design include the following:

  • Meets the requirements of Building Bulletins for space requirements.
  • The classroom design has the ability to vary and lightweight partitions between rooms to extend in the future.
  • Provision of robust and durable finishes are provided to ensure ease of maintenance.
  • Toilets are arranged in clusters with full height cubicles.  Clusters are open to circulation areas to aid control and reduce bullying and vandalism.
  • All drainage connections are design in clusters to limit the amount of drains.
  • All wet areas, cloaks, WC’s and Stores are located along one of the side walls of the classroom to free up the opposite wall as the ‘teaching wall’.
  • External and internal classroom doors are located on the same axis to avoid lengthy routes around furniture etc in classrooms
  • Where possible, Circulation, break out areas and resource spaces are enhanced by north or roof lights to provide light and airy spaces.

Our solution provided high performing enveloping (floors, walls, roofing and glazing) combined with excellent air tightness and was developed to rationalise the number and complexity of details through a standard kit of parts resulting in increased control through buildability and increased the speed of construction.   WRW Construction also used the scheme as a  demonstration project for Construction Excellences Zero Waste Initiative.  Key to this was the approach to minimising waste at the design stage.  We implemented processes such as cutting schedules for timber cladding to ensure all was procured off site with zero waste arising on site.

Lawray has been a partner of the Corporation of the Church House for over 20 years and in that time has been heavily involved in several large refurbishment projects. The team’s knowledge and skills have proved invaluable in the areas of design, planning and project administration. When redeveloping a listed property, Lawray have ensured that they treat the architecture with sympathy whilst producing space that is effective for modern day requirements. Lawray continues to work closely with our in-house team on forthcoming projects and we would have no hesitation in recommending their work to others.

Mr Ian Bessant, Facilities Manager

The Corporation of Church House (Aug 2013)