Baart Harries Newall

Fordbridge Community Primary School


Fordbridge Community Primary School, in Chelmsley Wood, North Solihull is a new 2.5 form entry Primary School (for 540 children) with a school nursery, a Full Day Care Centre and community provision.  The school is organised into 3 distinct teaching phases, with classrooms arranged around shared activity hubs. As the new school replaced an existing 1960’s system build school the opportunity existed to build a close relationship between the design team and the end users.

All of the exposed steel on the project was galvanised for corrosion resistance, low maintenance and longevity, all of which met the clients brief for a sustainable building.  The generous roof overhang is supported by galvanised brackets which in turn support the galvanised RHS steel perimeter ring beam – this extended roof provides solar shading to glazing and a sheltered edge to the building.  A lower level galvanised steel perimeter canopy to the front of the school provides shelter for pupils and parents arriving and entering the building.

To the west and south of the single storey block the roof oversails to provide a large external sheltered areas for learning and play. The oversailing roof is supported by an exposed galvanised steel frame.

The teaching base for the older children is located on the first floor. This opens out onto a teaching terrace which connects to the playground below via an external ‘theatre’. The external terrace is contained by a 2m high balustrade constructed from galvanized steel that frame 5 large sections of glass block infill panels to provide security and light to the first floor terrace. The requirements for accuracy and zero distortion in this part of the design were particularly onerous.

Images © Paul Harries, Simon Wilson