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Thomas Clarkson Academy
Current
  • All
  • Architecture
  • Interior design
  • Urban design
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A socially inclusive learning environment

Thomas Clarkson Academy

  • Location Wisbech, UK
  • Status Built
  • Service Architecture
  • Sector Education and research
  • Area 16,000m²/172,200ft²
  • Client Kier Eastern on behalf of Equitix and Cambridgeshire County Council

Our design for this secondary school in Wisbech has transformed it into a dynamic learning facility that’s making a weighty impact on the local community.

The tailor-made academy is part new-build, part refurbishment. We replaced the disparate collection of buildings with a single block unified by a dramatic multiuse space. This highly adaptable space, known as Eden, forms the heart of the school, with all facilities leading off it. It’s large enough to accommodate all 2,000 pupils, and can be used for assemblies, events and dining. It can also be broken down into smaller configurations for private study or small group teaching. At three storeys high, Eden draws the eye upwards and contains one of the tallest climbing walls in East Anglia.

We incorporated a number of energy-saving features into our design, including the use of cross-laminated timber, which has resulted in negative CO2 emissions from the structural materials due to the sequestration of carbon in construction.

The school – which acquired academy status in 2012 – shares its sports and theatre facilities with the Wisbech community, creating a much-needed amenity for the area. It’s seen a significant increase in the number of students staying on to take A levels since its redevelopment – just one of the positive influences it’s had on the local population.

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Eden Space

The central Eden Space is large enough to accommodate a full capacity of 1,500 pupils and has one of the tallest climbing walls in East Anglia.

I am absolutely delighted with the design of our new school.
Former principal
Thomas Clarkson Academy
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Context

Horizontal brick banding on the exterior elevations of the learning communities references the surrounding flat farmland, while vertical coloured stripes separate the full-height strip windows of the Eden Space and provide a visual link to the nearby rows of poplar trees.

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Colour

The academy’s colours – green, yellow and blue, representing the trees, corn and sky of the Fens – are used to brand and unify the school both inside and out.
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Awards

  • Perspective Awards 2013 Best International Architecture
  • Leaf Awards 2013 Shortlisted – Public Building of the Year, Education

Project Team

Dell, Imtech Aqua, Kier, Livingstone Eyre Associates, Mitie, Sandy Brown Associates, Team a Go-Go, WSP

Make Team

Richard Meddings, Jamie Rodgers, Paul Scott, Ken Shuttleworth, Greg Willis
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