Sport is a major
strength at Oundle School in Northamptonshire. At the moment the sports
facilities are a collection of fields and buildings that have grown up as the
need has arisen. We challenged the existing master plan for reordering the
site, stressing the importance of making a new ‘place’ within the town. We
changed the shape and orientation of the proposed sports centre and identified
the best routes for pupils to come and go from what we think of as a new sports
We also considered the
routes to be taken by parents and members of the public who will have access to
the campus. By siting the main buildings around a central ‘square’, parents
will have a clearly delineated route from the car parks and will follow routes
back through the building at the end of matches, providing opportunities to
talk to staff, pupils and other parents, and to enjoy match teas.
Our preliminary designs
for the new sports centre show a more open and engaging, less inward-looking
building than conventional box-like sports centres. To lessen the impact of its
size the three major components - the eight-court sports hall, a 25m swimming
pool and hospitality suite - are broken down into volumes, each identifiable by
its scale and the use of materials.
We have used the
varying levels of the steeply sloping site to help the building settle into the
Oundle is a quintessential
English market town. The school is very much integrated, both physically and
socially, with the town. We were conscious that although the building won’t be
visible from outside the new sports campus, it will be used by the public and is
a civic building which needs to respect its physical and historic context.
This is one component of a wider development of the school. It is at the
far end of the school’s grounds that has grown up more haphazardly and we
needed to make sense of it. While we have been working on this project we have
also been asked to design a new STEM campus for the school
How we worked
We were invited to bid
for the job, which we won, as a result of two personal recommendations.
We are working with the school’s
in-house project manager and Estates Bursar, alongside a steering group of
school governors. By making numerous visits to the school we have become
familiar with how the school and town coexist, and how each contributes to the
vibrancy of Oundle. The project will
involve complex phasing.
Making it happen
As well as working on
the design for the campus and the individual components of the sports centre,
we have also carried out transport studies and flood risk and bio diversity
reports to support the planning application. These feasibility studies are also
critical for fundraising.
The plans will be
submitted for planning in mid 2014, with completion for the whole master plan expected