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Saunders Boston Architects designs expanded Waterbeach Community Primary School


By Paul Brackley


Designs for Waterbeach Community Primary School's extension by Saunders Boston Architects (6504020)
Designs for Waterbeach Community Primary School's extension by Saunders Boston Architects (6504020)

Virtual reality was used to help bring to life the design for an expanded Waterbeach Community Primary School, which has been granted planning permission.

Cambridge-based Saunders Boston Architects provided the architectural design and lead consultant services, working alongside Kier Construction on the development, which will increase the school’s capacity to 630 places.

It will feature a two-storey teaching block extension of 12 classrooms, a group room, an improved and extended main entrance and revised landscape and interior design.

Pupils were invited to visualise their dream school through the use of virtual reality, which Saunders Boston Architects hopes might inspire some to consider a career in architecture or design in future.

Margherita Cesca, senior architect and project lead at Saunders Boston Architects, said: “We focussed on ensuring the design provided a sense of place for the students, and would help inspire creativity and enthusiasm in the learning environment.

“To achieve this, we have introduced a bold rainbow theme, which is sophisticatedly displayed in coloured glaze bricks inserted into light grey outer brickwork, with a series of seven coloured windows each representing one of the colours of the rainbow.”

Designs for Waterbeach Community Primary School's extension by Saunders Boston Architects (6504018)
Designs for Waterbeach Community Primary School's extension by Saunders Boston Architects (6504018)

An inspirational ‘learning street’ was also designed, which will connect the classrooms and provide an opportunity for reflection for pupils between classes.

Gaye Roberts, of local education authority Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The rainbow theme creates a fun and tasteful exterior to the refurbished areas of the school, and has encouraged the headteacher to consider rolling the design out through the rest of the existing building.”

In addition to VR, the architects, based in Newmarket Road, also used Building Information Modelling (BIM) and architectural modelling to bring the designs to life.

Cesca said: “Working in BIM is tremendous, allowing us to consider, evaluate and maximise every aspect of the design, its components and details. BIM is a fantastic tool which allows better planning and use of space and resources – which is why it is incorporated it into our design process at Saunders Boston Architects.”



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