A COMBINATION OF HIGH PERFORMANCE AND DISTINCTIVE ARCHITECTURE – THE AVOCADO SCHOOL BUILDING EXCELS
The township of Wintringham received a new flagship building in the form of Wintringham Primary Academy in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, completed in 2021. Cambridgeshire County Council commissioned the building affectionately known as the ‘Avocado’ due to its unique roof shape. The project is a clear demonstration of the excellence of workmanship that Kalzip provide to clients through the installation of the Kalzip standing seam roof system and the quality of the bespoke curved aluminium soffit and aluminium fabrications.
Philip Marsh, Founding Director at dRMM (de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects), who was responsible for the school’s design, said: “Wintringham Primary Academy’s distinctive shape was formed by Passivhaus principles. By arranging teaching spaces around a central grove, the aim was to increase daylighting and cross ventilation from multiple aspects. The shape allows a spatial arrangement which supports the idea of a school ‘in the round’.
“The client required a roof system that was robust and low maintenance, and one that would stand the test of time. A Kalzip standing seam profile roof was selected after considering a few options, ultimately the Kalzip system provided the best option in terms of durability. Additionally, the Kalzip roof also offered compatible bolt-on solutions for roof maintenance systems that were easy to integrate. The project required a fall restraint mansafe system and roof access stair which could be simply incorporated as part of the roof system. From the moment we started liaising with Kalzip for their technical input they were most helpful and were able to answer all our technical queries in great detail.
“Kalzip 50/429, stucco embossed aluminium was specified for the project, which was site rolled at the eaves with the longest sheet measuring 72 metres. Additionally, intricate detail work was required on the curved aluminium fabrications, along with the drainage requirements on the complex roof shape. Having received high-level technical information at the early stages of enquiry, we were confident Kalzip’s experience would be beneficial. We also specified 280mm Kalzip insulation plus 40, compressed to 255mm within a cavity created by E180 clips, S5 & S10 spacer pads, galvanized steel top hat supports fastened down to a Glulam Beam timber structure to achieve the thermal requirements.”
There were some logistical challenges for this bespoke project, mostly surrounding the tight budget and construction programme. Just 12 months were allowed for the construction with completion to coincide with the start of the new school year. Kalzip’s systems are predominantly manufactured offsite, which led to a quick and simple installation onsite, despite the complex nature of the roof.
Wintringham Primary Academy is a prototype typology for an all-timber school that delivers an inspirational learning environment, which surrounds itself with greenery inside and out. To enhance wellbeing, dRMM prioritised a timber aesthetic, natural light, ventilation and direct access to the surrounding landscape in response to the school’s affinity with forest school principles.
As part of a team headed by contractor Morgan Sindall, dRMM worked with Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and the Diamond Learning Partnership Trust (DLPT) to develop the vision. This called for a three-form entry primary school for up to 708 children, including a nursery that could be run independently if required. The 3615m2 school was completed in 2021 after a construction programme of just 14 months despite the restrictions of the pandemic.
There were a number of challenges to overcome, and Kalzip’s vast experience was certainly required at numerous points. As a result, Kalzip was awarded Morgan Sindall’s ‘Perfect Delivery” award for the Wintringham Primary Academy project. Wintringham also achieved the RIBA East Regional Award and the RIBA East Sustainability Award in 2022 and was highly commended in the Structural Timber Awards.
For more information please visit: www.kalzip.com/en/
Considered with care. KALZIP.
Yannick de Beauregard
August Horch St. 20 – 22