Archbishop McGrath Catholic Secondary School
Client: Archbishop McGrath Catholic Secondary School
Archbishop McGrath Catholic Secondary School decided to relocate from its current location in Tondu, north of Bridgend, to a new school in Brackla in the heart of Bridgend. This new school is jointly funded by the Archdiocese of Cardiff, Bridgend County Borough Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.
The main school building spans three floors and accommodates 750 pupils aged 11-18, including 150 sixth formers. Building the school on three storeys makes more efficient use of the land and promotes energy efficiency, with natural ventilation and high density concrete floors creating thermal mass for passive temperature control and the use of sustainably sourced materials.
Across the school, the core educational and social activities drive the connection between classroom areas - the main entrance foyer, sports hall, main hall and canteen tie the teaching spaces together. Flexible classrooms and workspaces accommodate different class sizes and a range of teaching practices. We also moved away from the traditional corridor concept of circulation; instead these areas become activity spaces, encouraging reconfiguration and personal learning, while also allowing passive supervision and greater safety for students.
The three-storey design also freed up land for additional school sports and leisure facilities, which can be used by the wider local community in the evenings and at weekends.
Awards: Achieved BREEAM (2008) Excellent / Winner of Gold Medal for Architecture 2012 at the National Eisteddford Wales / LABC 2012 - Winner of Best Sustainable Project and Best Educational Building / Shortlisted in the BCSE Best of British Schools Awards 2012, Secondary Projects Category / Shortlised for the Civic Trust Awards 2013 / Shortlisted for the prestigious triennial Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize, Shortlisted in the Mixology North Awards 2012 for Best Public Sector Interiors Project of the Year, Shortlisted in the Building Awards 2013 for Public Building of the Year.