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.

Democratic Centre for Coventry City Council

Coventry City Council have appointed Robothams to design the Democratic Centre, a refurbishment of spaces within the grade 2 listed Council House. The scheme is focused on making elected members more accessible to the public by providing committee rooms and meeting spaces adjacent to the council chamber, creating a hub for engagement with the public. The project is due for completion in 2016.

3231-Council House ExteriorExternal image of the Council House building in the city centre.

3231-Interior02Internal image of wood work in the debating chamber.

Robothams are providing multi-disciplinary design services, with team members Cundall, Couch Consulting and Jonathan Richard Associates.

Over cladding revitalises College buildings

Last year saw Robothams complete a major refurbishment at Warwickshire College, including the internal and external refurbishment of its six storey teaching block. The scheme involved wrapping the building in a rain-screen cladding system, installing new windows and sun-shading to control solar gains. The project has transformed the external appearance and significantly improved internal comfort and energy use.


 Before and After, at Warwickshire College

In parallel we have been working on a similar scheme for Abingdon & Witney College where a 1960’s system built teaching block has been upgraded at their Abingdon campus. A lightweight insulated render and blue brick shell hangs from the building’s concrete frame creating a crisp new facade and image for the College. The scheme is due for completion in 2015 with funding from the Skills Funding Agency.



Before and After, at Abingdon & Witney College

The key benefits of over-cladding are:

  • Refurbishment and reuse is an inherently environmentally friendly approach.
  • By opting to over-clad both Colleges kept on teaching during the work minimising disruption and avoiding expensive temporary accommodation.
  • New windows have allowed the majority of rooms to be naturally ventilated, solar control glass preventing over heating whilst creating bright teaching rooms.
  • Insulated panels have reduced heat losses and minimised energy use.

We are currently working on similar projects for a number of other Colleges and Universities including the re-cladding of a twenty two storey tower in Coventry.

For more information contact our education team.

Appointment to design the new Aston Students’ Union

We have been appointed under Aston University consultant framework to design a scheme to refurbish the Viscom building in the northern part of the campus. The principal occupant will be Aston Students’ Union who are currently defining their requirements ahead of the design phase of the project.3070-AU Viscom 01An image of the existing Viscom building before refurbishment

The project forms part of the University’s master plan illustrated on their website and will be adjacent to a new home for Aston Business School within AUE1.

Housman Hall project completes on site

The refurbishment of the former home of  A E Housman has been completed on site and is a further addition to Bromsgrove School’s portfolio of boarding houses.

Housman Hall

It was intended to replace the existing outmoded boarding accommodation on a phased basis, with pupil numbers being maintained at all times.  The new boarding houses are designed to be vernacular in form to fit into the conservation area with contemporary interventions limited to double height structural glazed entrance foyers.

Within the existing listed building the proposals have returned the rooms to their original form and reinserting the Georgian architecture combined with expanding the existing dining area to permit all students at the sixth form campus to sit together for meals.

The proposals preserve and enhance the character of Housman Hall by removing the unsympathetic extensions replacing them with a more appropriate development, retaining the existing listed building and enhancing the building’s mature ‘leafy’ surroundings.  The core philosophy of the site plan was to extend the landscape foil, removing car parking and built form from the centre of the site and relocating it to the perimeter, providing a landscaped setting for the listed building to ‘breathe’.

Coventry University London Campus – next phase begins

CULC4The fourth phase has just started on site of Coventry University’s London campus. Following refurbishment work completed in the Autumn of 2014, this latest section of work will consolidate the University’s facilities at East India House including the refurbishment of the entrance area and the management suites. The construction work is being undertaken by Overbury and is due for completion in March.

New teaching spaces for Aston University

Work is beginning on site on new teaching spaces for Aston University, in their main academic building. The scheme is due for completion by the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year, with Overbury undertaking the construction works. In addition to a pair of lecture theatres the design creates collaborative learning spaces on the sixth floor.

G11 Final ImageAbove, the refurbishment of the ground floor G11 lecture room will create additional seating and enhanced lighting and AV systems.

MB653 Final ImageAbove, at sixth floor a new Harvard style lecture theatre will create a more intimate, engaging teaching experience with seating in the round.