Saunders Boston Architects breathes new life into Waterbeach Community Primary School

Artist’s impression of the Waterbeach Community Primary School development

Planning permission has been granted to Waterbeach Community Primary School to increase its learning capacity to 630 places. The design, by Saunders Boston Architects, will also improve existing facilities, marking a step towards better education opportunities for the local community.

The Cambridge-based architects has provided full architectural design and lead consultant services, working alongside Kier Construction for the new development, which will include a two-storey teaching block extension consisting of 12 classrooms, a group room, an improved and extended main entrance, and revised landscape and interior design.

Margherita Cesca, Senior Architect and Project Lead at Saunders Boston Architects, said: “We focussed on ensuring the design provided a sense of place for the students, and would help inspire creativity and enthusiasm in the learning environment. To achieve this, we have introduced a bold rainbow theme, which is sophisticatedly displayed in coloured glaze bricks inserted into light grey outer brickwork, with a series of seven coloured windows each representing one of the colours of the rainbow.”

Alongside the colourful exterior, Saunders Boston Architects also designed an inspirational ‘learning street’ which will connect the classrooms and provide a moment of reflection for students between classes.

Gaye Roberts, Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The rainbow theme creates a fun and tasteful exterior to the refurbished areas of the school, and has encouraged the Headteacher to consider rolling the design out through the rest of the existing building.”

When designing the school, Saunders Boston Architects used a number of technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), virtual reality (VR), and architectural modelling to bring the designs to life.

Cesca said: “Working in BIM is tremendous, allowing us to consider, evaluate and maximise every aspect of the design, its components and details. BIM is a fantastic tool which allows better planning and use of space and resources – which is why it is incorporated it into our design process at Saunders Boston Architects.”

The use of such technology not only benefitted the design process, but was also used to inspire the school’s students, who were invited to visualise their dream school through the use of VR – potentially inspiring the students to consider a career in architecture or design in the future.

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