The architectural clarity of a new teaching facility at Gresham’s School in Norfolk – incorporating panels of Nordic Brown Light pre-oxidised copper alongside full-height glazing – typifies an innovative approach to education.
Enabled by Sir James Dyson, a former pupil at the school, the centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education is a state-of-the-art structure at the heart of the School campus. WilkinsonEyre’s design develops and refines the evolving STEAM building typology, and follows a modern aesthetic integrating industrial components with landscaping and low energy systems.
Opaque and Perforated Copper
The two-storey exposed steel frame envelopes a mixture of large panels: some glass and others Nordic Brown Light pre-oxidised copper – either opaque or with square perforations adding transparency whilst screening glazing behind. Some of the panels are set back within the structure, introducing landscaped open areas which can be used for outside teaching. Integrated planting blurs the boundaries between outside and in.
The thoroughly modern building remains sympathetic to its historic context and its scale reflects that of the 1916 school chapel across the lawn. Meanwhile, the patterns in the oxidised copper panels mirror the decorative flint details on the chapel elevation.
With an area totalling 4000m², teaching spaces are generous and filled with light. They include classrooms, laboratories, workshops, an auditorium and open-plan common spaces able to host a variety of teaching and learning uses. An inviting and interactive internal courtyard, doubling up as circulation, features an arts hub, seating area, and IT point and facilities, further reinforcing the integration of art, design, and science.
The building is equipped with the latest technology to ensure the highest levels of teaching, from robotics and Artificial Intelligence to programming and machine learning. The building will also provide greatly improved opportunities for the outreach programme which Gresham’s runs with local schools.