On this project, we were fortunate enough to lead the design team, from the inception of the project, through to the construction of this new sports facility, for Finborough School, Suffolk. The accommodation comprises of the new sports hall, 3 sets of changing rooms, a new classroom, fitness suite and gym, along with function facilities.
This is a significant development for the school, which emphasises its strong sporting capabilities. The design was developed in order to provide additional facilities, whilst having a minimum impact on the main school building and the remainder of its parkland setting, which is listed. Due to this requirement, the whole building has been partially sunk into the ground, resulting in its visual mass to be significantly reduced. Along with this, Whitworth implemented a curved roof profile, to enable the structure to blend in with the landscaping design.
The building has a number of ecological features designed into the scheme. Helping to establish a contemporary 21st century building, which employs minimal environmental impact. All lighting is from LED sources and the heating is provided via air source heat pumps. High levels of insulation have been used in conjunction with dense concrete block work internal walls to provide a high thermal mass. The partially sunken nature of the building, also aids with maintaining a thermally stable environment. A mechanical ventilation system has been incorporated, to provide fresh air into the building, which works in conjunction with a natural ventilation system with electrically opening high-level windows controlled from the ventilation control system. This continuously monitors air quality and operates the appropriate system to provide the necessary fresh air into the building. Large areas of glazing, coupled with large roof overhangs, make the most of beneficial solar gains in the winter months, whilst cutting out unwanted solar gains in the summer months. A rain water attenuation pond has also been utilised to serve the fire brigade, if ever required. The facing planished external blockwork was supplied by Lignacite of Brandon, Suffolk.
The sports hall was designed to be a multi-functional space. Therefore, achieving a comfortable environment for multiple occupations, such as an examination room or hosting large events, was important. A key issue was managing the acoustic environment within the spaces, controlling the typical problem of high levels of reverberation associated with sports halls. This issue was carefully and successfully overcome, which enabled us to achieve a fully functional multi-purpose space.