Bedford Girls' School
Our director, Thomas Mann, has worked with Bedford Girls School for around 15 years, with the past 7 years as part of TMV Architects. During every summer holiday we are involved on the refurbishment of various buildings within the school’s grounds; examples of these are on our website at the following link- https://www.tmvarchitects.co.uk/work/. We thoroughly enjoy working with Bedford Girls School and look forward to our continued relationship with them.
The brief for the Bedford Girl School required a contemporary refurbishment of the existing science department, this included 6 of the laboratories, 1 prep room, a locker area, chemical store and staff room. This was the initial inspiration for the “icreate space” which was to be located at the heart of the science block. Working with Envoplan, we created a multifunctional and flexible environment, complete with a 9 screen LCD TV wall, an illuminated, coloured LED ceiling light feature and height adjustable tables. All of this is encapsulated within a modern, curved glass wall to make it a real feature within the new state-of-the-art science department. The space provides a unique teaching space, and creates a fully immersive teaching experience with lights, sound and pictures.
Throughout the Science Department we have employed the School’s colours, of pink, green and grey; this can be seen in the ceiling’s acoustic baffles and the icreate space. Envoplan further conformed to this within their bespoke furniture designs for the pods and storage. This helps to create an overall cohesion within the science block, but also with the rest of the school.
Another requirement for the brief was to make a feature of the technician’s bulk store. Previously there were 3 smaller stores tucked away around the department, with each room dedicated to a particular technician. The new single, larger technicians store enables the technicians to work more efficiently as a team. Furthermore the addition of a linear, panoramic window into the room gives passers by the opportunity to observe the technicians as they help and prepare for experiments and lessons throughout the day. This is to better highlight the technicians as a fundamental part of the science department, allowing the children to have a better appreciation for the work they do.
Another, final, recurring theme throughout the design was the space’s need to be flexible. This has been directly implemented within the icreate space as the tables are adjustable to allow for use when both sitting and standing, free standing pouffes also allow for easy movability and the glass walls ability to be directly drawn on, has lead to the creation of a completely adaptable space. Flexibility has been further reflected through the layouts of the labs. The labs have all employed a pod based system for the seating and table arrangement. This includes a main cylindrical base which all the services are pumped through, these then have ‘petals’ coming out of them which are to be used as the Children’s tables. The petals can be moved around to create 3 interchangeable layouts (practical, teaching and group) depending on the required use. Photos of the floor plans have been included below, as well as images from the initial design process.
The whole refurbishment needed to be completed within 8 weeks, a tight schedule but with Goodrich project managing and S.A.Cs construction team this allowed it to be possible. S.A.C Construction’s team worked efficiently and swiftly, whilst still allowing a high quality finish for the build. We have worked with both Goodrich and S.A.C on previous projects at the school and they both come highly recommended. We have included some images below to give a better insight into the build process.
On September 4th we had our final site visit which was to be our final look at the completed site. For reasons out of our control some finishing touches still needed to be applied; although it is aimed to be fully completed by the coming Saturday. Remaining work will need to be completed out of school hours. Although the labs will still be useable for when the girls return on the 5th September (today), thanks to Envoplan’s final delivery at 6am today. We have included some photos of the final site visit, we hope to receive some professional photos at a later date which will be published to our various social medias. We are particularly pleased with the icreate space and are looking forward to seeing it completed.
We hope that the new science department will create a more engaging and exciting space for both the children and staff to use and we look forward to projects like this with Bedford Girls School in the future.