Northampton International Academy
The former Royal Mail sorting office in Northampton will be converted into a mixed-use development including a state of the art school catering for reception to sixth form.
The redevelopment of the 1980s brutalist building is an innovative solution to the adaptive reuse of this significant site and is a collaborative partnership between Lord Nash, the Education Funding Agency and Architecture Initiative.
Comprising a 420 place primary school, 1500 place secondary school and 300 place sixth form, the school will also provide a 400 seat theatre, four-court roof top Sports Hall, and specialist workshop and design classrooms available for out-of-hours community use.
“This innovative multi-use proposal for the Barrack Road site has emerged through extensive research and a unique collaboration between the Department for Education, Northamptonshire County Council and Architecture Initiative.”
Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools
Finding an appropriate use for such a large building was crucial to its reuse. Internally, the existing concrete structure provided an ideal framework for conversion to an educational facility. The 6m ceiling heights allowed for the insertion of mezzanine levels to provide perimeter classrooms and circulation, around double-height open learning areas. This campus-style plan arrangement creates street-like circulation punctuated by multi-storey, naturally lit atriums which allow an abundance of light, and encourage interaction across all age groups.
Glazed partitions are used extensively throughout the classrooms for natural light to penetrate all spaces, as well as promoting the presentation and demonstration of teaching and learning.
The new landscaped forecourt will create a welcoming entrance to the Primary and Secondary schools. Commercial spaces located at ground and first floor will instigate further community regeneration and ensure an active street frontage.
A large new terrace at the rear of the building allows for open learning activities, and connects the main lower floor to the new external play areas.
The school is due to open for the first intake in September 2017.