New school building, Herefordshire

Design and Planning

St Mary’s school has a long history tracing back to its origins as a school run by nuns and eventual assimilation into the state school system. The school has increased in size ever since creating a need for new and improved accommodation. The ad-hoc nature of development of the site over the years left little space for new buildings and this new building had to be squeezed into the only available gap between buildings.

The Client approached me with a very specific brief to create a new multi-purpose teaching block comprising classrooms, IT, “hospitality” teaching suite and staff offices.

The differing styles of the existing school allowed a relatively free hand in determining the style and design of the new building, within the confines of the available budget for the build. I chose to adopt a contemporary approach using contrasting materials (render & timber cladding to the walls with a zinc standing seam roof) to create a counterpoint to the existing architecture which largely comprised facing brickwork and flat roofs.

The completed build sits comfortably in its surroundings, complimenting the historic architecture, with the hard and soft landscaping leading the visitor to the entrance.


The Client described the building as a “pretty addition to the school complex”, and this was the intention from the outset.

The result is a very practical building, supplementing the existing teaching facilities on offer, which has greatly enhanced the school environment and experience.