14 October 2005
Foster and Partners latest Academy and its largest so far, the Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough, started on site today when local MP, Stewart Jackson performed the groundbreaking ceremony. Two snaking ribbons enclose shared facilities with a dramatic roof above. The undulating curves create 6 distinct mixed level colleges with sheltered communal spaces that break down the scale of the building. Traditional school lessons are combined with more flexible learning styles that will focus on supporting pupils pastoral needs. The central concourse is the academic and social heart, which also accommodates the lecture theatre and Resource Centre.
The ribbon of classrooms increases the external edge and thus maximises the potential to draw natural light and ventilation into the building. A series of glazed show-case classrooms will act as shop windows for the colleges, which each have a Network Study Area for social interaction and collective study hubs. In this way sixth form students will be encouraged to integrate with younger Academy pupils, acting as role models and developing a strong sense of college community. Teaching staff will integrate with pupils within these areas to provide discrete supervision. As part of the convergence programme for the Academy, pupils from all of the three predecessor schools have designed and painted graphics on to the recently erected site hoarding inspired by the unique design of the building.
Notes to Editors
- Through the merging of three existing schools, the new Academy for 2200 pupils aged between 11 and 19, will be created, establishing an Academy in the East of Peterborough City, with a Maths and Science specialism.
- The vision for the Academy has been developed by the Sponsors, the Deacons School Trust and Perkins Engines Co. Ltd (part of Caterpillar (UK)), together with Peterborough City Council. As a part of this vision, the educational concept will move more towards a more university type of environment. Many of the traditional school lessons are to be replaced with lectures, seminars and tutorials.
- From the site analysis it was decided' that dual entrances into the Academy would be established. The visitor, staff and pupil entrance will be located at the westerly end of the building, accessible from the southern site entrances, with an additional pupils entrance from the North.
- Mirrored panels are inserted into the partially glazed roof plane and are aligned with lights placed along the ribbon to illuminate the concourse within the centre of the building.