Kimberley STEM College
One of the first science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) colleges in the UK
700 pupil STEM college
In 2010, tp bennett designed this building for Hanson Building Products in Bedfordshire. It was to be a showcase for the materials manufacturer, but Hanson then opted against occupying the building, whereupon the practice was commissioned by the Wooten Academy Trust to re-purpose the building as one of the first science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) Colleges in the UK.
The building has accommodated the new use well. A triple-height atrium makes a feature entrance and circulation space for 700 students, and a sinuous fair-faced concrete staircase leads to both open-plan and enclosed teaching, study and office spaces; all with views of the reclaimed industrial landscape.
As the building had been a showcase, the front elevation has post-tensioned brick piers and brick-work elsewhere on the façade. Some of the brick-work has been perforated with transparent acrylic elements, making it dramatic when backlit and echoing the pattern of bricks on pallets during manufacture.
The local brick industry left large pits, now bodies of water. One of these lakes is now part of the building’s geothermal cooling strategy, helping the College achieve a low-energy status. “As the building is all about technology and the innovative use of materials it’s a joy to see it used as a STEM college,” says tp bennett’s Emiliano Acciarito.
Winner - Best Commercial Workplace