Planning permission granted for Post 16 Centre

Planning consent has been granted by Coventry City Council for our design to extend Sidney Stringer Academy in Swanswell. The first floor extension will provide a new base for the school’s post 16 pupils including an open study space, teaching rooms, office accommodation and cafe area.

The external cladding extends the vertical striped pattern on the adjacent sports hall and incorporates large windows to Cox Street creating a well lit interior.  Visitors and disabled parking space are retained at ground floor level with pedestrian connections to the school’s main entrance.

Robothams are working with Shires, Halligan Associates, PMP Consultants, OCC and Cundall to create the new spaces for the start of the 2018 academic year.

Official opening of Rendcomb College’s Arts Centre

On Friday Jonathan Suffolk, the National Theatre’s Technical Director officially opened the school’s new arts centre. The Griffin Centre includes a 350-seat auditorium, mirrored dance studio with ballet barres and a sprung floor, dressing rooms, prop and set workshop and costume store. Set into the historic landscape of the school the building is the first to be built on the site for 27 years.

The opening ceremony included performances from the pupils including ballet and contemporary dance in the bespoke dance studio, poetry and an excerpt from the school’s production of Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’.

For more information see the project case study on our website.

Extension to Beaufort Cooperative Academy, Gloucester

Appointed by E G Carter, a contractor based in Gloucester, the practice are currently working on designs to extend an existing secondary school in the Tuffley area of the city. The creation of a development plan for the school has led to the progression of a first phase to create space for an additional form of entry. It addresses shortfalls in science and general teaching rooms whilst also creating a new entrance to the school and improving circulation within the existing building.


Above, the new entrance joins two existing buildings and identifies a more legible ‘front door’ for visitors.


Above, the new teaching block will be naturally lit with a mixed mode ventilation system aimed at lowering energy use.

The scheme will shortly be submitted for planning consent and if approved will begin on site with a targeted completion of summer 2018.

Advanced Skills Centre receives planning consent

Planning consent has been granted by Vale of the White Horse District Council for the Advanced Skills Centre at Abingdon & Witney College.  The addition to the College’s Abingdon campus will provide high specification engineering teaching spaces and a base for the higher education courses.

The design continues the themes established by earlier phases at the campus whilst reflecting the site’s adjacency to the perimeter and neighbouring properties. It will be delivered to BIM Level 2 using an integrated Revit 3D model allowing high levels of visualisation and collaboration between disciplines.

It is due to be completed for the start of 2018.



Above, images of the ASC from the Northcourt Road.

3151-ASC-Site Layout

Above, site layout by the Richards Partnership showing integration of parking and boundary treatments.

Sixth form boarding house created at Old Swinford Hospital

Work has begun on site to create a dedicated sixth form boarding house at Old Swinford Hospital, a secondary boarding school near Stourbridge.

The project will see an existing boarding house modernised to create single and twin occupancy rooms with en-suite shower rooms for 60 pupils. An internal courtyard is covered with a lightweight glass structure to create a central common room, with routes to link through the building and connections to a new study area, library and kitchen.


3226-Swinford-view02Stepnell have been appointed to begin the construction work with completion due in summer 2016 for occupation by pupils at the beginning of the academic year. The design team includes DBK as cost consultant, E3 designing the M&E services and Nolan Associates developing the structural design.

Planning submitted for Aston Student Union

A planning application has now been submitted for Aston Students’ Union in the heart of the University’s Birmingham campus. The design combines catering outlets, social study space, a music venue, prayer facilities and a base for the Union’s staff and support services in sleek new building.

The design has been developed during 2015 after extensive research into the type of facility students need now and in the future and visits to similar Union’s across the country. The project is due for completion later in 2017.



3070-ASU-View03Concept images of the building’s exterior, combining bold colours, extensive glazing and contemporary detailing.

Academic work space at Aston University

Work has been completed on academic work space for the School of Health & Life Science at Aston University ready for the beginning of the new academic year.  Individual offices and open plan areas were designed to cluster around informal break-out spaces designed within the University’s main building. Colourful themes for furniture, walls and floors define space for research teams and lecturers, whilst large glazed screens project light into the interior. Robothams worked with Overbury, Method Consulting, Gleeds and Turner & Townsend to deliver the scheme for the University.





Commission to create the Discovery Academy in Nuneaton

Robothams have been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council and Wates Construction to create a SEN school in Nuneaton for the MacIntyre Academy Trust. The school will accommodate pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD).  This is required to meet demand for high quality specialist provision for pupils who are otherwise placed outside of the County with independent providers.

MacIntyre Academies is a multi-academy trust for special schools and specialist alternative provision. Sponsored by the national charity MacIntyre, their schools benefit from 48 year’s experience of innovative approaches to supporting children with special educational needs and their families.

2192-Manor Park Proposed 02The School will initially offer 26 places upon opening, rising to a provision of 80 full day places for children aged 9-18 years. It is envisaged that class sizes will be around eight to ten pupils.

The scheme reuses a former secondary school made redundant by the creation of the Nuneaton Academy in 2011. The existing courtyards and twentieth century brick facades have created a foil against which to set contemporary insertions to augment and extend the existing space.  Closely connected landscape and spatial strategies combine to deliver a successful setting for this type of school.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove, the existing buildings provide an intimate scale and private courtyards create a range of opportunities for outdoor activities.

3192-Manor Park-SketchAbove, concept sketch of internal courtyard space.

The project is being led by Andrew Haines and Dawn Spicer, drawing on their experience delivering North Leamington School, and two free schools in Birmingham.

Dawn says of the scheme, ‘it is an inherently sustainable project, the scale and character of the existing buildings will create a delightful school for the pupils with minimum impact on local residents’.

2192-Manor Park Proposed 01Planning consent was granted in April for the project, with Wates Construction due to complete the school in early 2016 for occupation by the first pupils in September.

Sidney Stringer Primary School, Coventry

The practice have been appointed by Thomas Vale, part of the Bouygues group to design a new primary school in Coventry. To be delivered under the EFA Regional Framework as a free school, the client is the Sidney Stringer Multi Academy Framework established by the ‘Outstanding’ academy of the same name, and advised by Mace.

3022-SidneyStringerPrimary-View01The first academic year will begin in September with temporary accommodation provided within the EIC, one of the practice’s earlier pieces of work for the school. The new school will be ready for its second year of operation in 2016.

Designed to accommodate 420 pupils from 4 – 11 years the school completes the Learning Quarter concept begun in 2004 with the construction of City College Coventry with the aim of acting as catalyst for the redevelopment of Swanswell and Hillfields.

3022 - Aerial View - 2015-06-01Above, an aerial view of the site

3022 - Existing View 02Project architect, Justin Metcalfe said “we are very proud to be involved with this project as it continues our involvement with the regeneration of this part of the city, and allows us to work again with Thomas Vale and the school.”

A planning application has been submitted with a start on site anticipated in autumn 2015.


3022-SidneyStringerPrimary-View03Above, images of the building in context.