Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera

Neath Port Talbot

The project

Lawray was commissioned by Andrew Scott Ltd to design a new teaching block at Ystalyfera School to accommodate the current pupil intake while also providing facilities for use by the local community.

Complementary modern additions

Established in 1969, the school campus is a mixture of different building types including 1970s prefabricated structures that were in poor condition and no longer fit for purpose. These were demolished to make room for the new building that has been designed to complement the scale, form and material palette of two earlier phases (the Eiron Block and Primary School) that were delivered as part of the school’s modernisation programme.

Flexible spaces

The new two storey building provides a new multi-purpose hall, canteen, WCs and changing rooms on the ground floor, and general and music classrooms on the first floor. An entrance lobby leads to the hall and adjoining activity studio, which provides a flexible space for teaching and performances.

The canteen provides seating for 180 pupils, with a table store that allows it to be used for a multitude of functions. Changing rooms have external access to playing fields and can be used out of hours.

Coherent design

Arranged at a right angle to the Eiron Block and linked at first floor level, the building brings a new coherence to the school, creating a new square, with external circulation and play areas. A 4G pitch and Multi-use Games Area (MUGA) were also delivered as part of the scheme.

Inclusive and sustainable

The building has been designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent and incorporates natural ventilation and photovoltaic panels. Spaces have been designed to be inclusive with intuitive wayfinding, contrasting colours for the visually impaired and accessible lifts and toilets. Robust stakeholder engagement throughout the design process ensured that the diversity of needs was met.