Stowe School Design, Technology & Engineering Centre
The aim of the new Design, Technology and Engineering Centre is to provide academic and vocational training for pupils who will contribute significantly to the UK’s drive for creativity and expertise in manufacturing, Product Design and Architecture.
Following an invited competition that involved a review of two potential sites within the school estate, we were asked to progress with proposals to replace the existing facilities in their current location. This required a phased approach that would allow the continued operation of the faculty during the build.
We were keen to fuse the processes of designing and making ensuring that design studios had a close and visible relationship to the workshops. A simple plan arrangement places a series of 4 workshops to one side of a central circulation and gallery spine, and design studios to the other separated by glass partitions.
The workshops are supported to one side by storage spaces and niches for equipment requiring exhaust and extraction and serviced via a prep room and stores situated at the end of building.
The gallery circulation spine allows the workshops and studios to be built in phases finally connected together when this space is enclosed by its roof.
As a device to filter and diffuse roof light from above, a continuous cross laminated timber coffered roof shell spans across all the spaces.
A colonnaded veil finished in ceramic cladding continues around the parkland facing elevations. This results in a layering and rhythm to the elevations designed to have empathy with the historic buildings on the Stowe estate.
The roof is accessible as an exhibition space, commanding spectacular view across the famous estate.