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Priory Church in Wales Primary School, Brecon

Learning Curve for Brecon Pupils

Entry Wan Awards 2011 – Education

John Weaver Construction constructs new Primary School in Welsh market town designed by Petersen Williams Architects, selected from over 140 world-wide entries to be included on the long list for the World Architectural News (WAN) Education Awards 2011.

The project was funded under the Welsh Assembly Government’s Voluntary Aided Schools Capital Programme in conjunction with Powys County Council and the Church in Wales Diocese of Swansea and Brecon.

This is the only scheme in Wales and only three in the UK to be selected by the judging panel, so we are delighted to see Wales represented on the world stage.

Architectural News – February 2011

The requirement of the Governors for their new school was that it would provide children of the next generation and of the locality with a school which encapsulates all that is expected to ensure a fitting environment for education in the 21st century.

The school brief included a requirement for a nursery, an assembly hall, learning resource, food technology centre and creative arts facilities together with areas where teachers can deliver the Foundation Phase ‘learning through play initiative’. This site is located in the historic town of Brecon within the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The existing site levels, contours and site views have influenced building form, location and orientation. The development of the school as a community itself was the main influence on the design ethos and features of this school. An ordered hierarchy of the spaces has evolved with larger spaces for groups at the ‘heart’ of the school surrounded by smaller classrooms.

All classrooms are arranged chronologically from the entrance and are served from the curved circulation route that runs through the building and access points from the external areas. Adjacent to the main entrance is the circular hall and external courtyard.

The circulation route to the nursery hall infant classes is an overflow learning area and wraps around the courtyard which is also used as a secure and external learning, play or assembly area.

Materials used both externally and internally in the project are sympathetic to the site, the surrounding buildings and landscape. Sustainable design elements incorporated in the scheme included a biomass fuelled boiler, grey water harvesting and photovoltaic units.

Client feedback indicates that their brief requirements have been met as the innovative layout and design provides pupils and teachers with an enhanced learning environment and Priory School has become a popular community venue.