Lighthouse School
  • ProjectLighthouse School
  • ClientLighthouse School / DEF
  • LocationLeeds
  • Value3.6m
  • StatusCompleted 2015

The existing building has been completely renovated internally to provide a new layout and accommodation to suit the school’s needs. The buildings natural form creates an embracing enclosure providing a safe and secure environment for outdoor education and play. Interventions are kept to a minimum to retain the historic fabric of the building but new large glass openings allow maximum interaction with the green space to the south.

The new layout has respected the fabric of the building as much as possible with sustainability and preserving the character of the site considered as high importance throughout the design process.

Spatial planning was carefully considered with the potential vulnerability of the end users taken into account and their security and happiness taken as a starting point to the design.

Class Bases are given priority for adjacency to the south facing landscaped breakout area and all arranged along the principal elevation for maximum natural light and connection to the outside.

The main hall is located in one of the single-story wings with generous floor to sloped ceiling heights and has been located at the noisier busier end of the site adjacent to the access road. The western end of the site remains more tranquil without distractions of deliveries etc. and this has been taken as a strong ethos for the spatial arrangement both inside and out.

The main entrance is highlighted by the existing architecture of the building and the grand entrance in the central section was the obvious choice. This also benefits pedestrian flow through the building as it will allow users to feed both left and right from the central location. Staff areas and admin are located at the rear of the building except for reception facilities ideally located next to the main entrance for security reasons.

Specialist teaching rooms are clustered as centrally as possible with toilets and storage spaces are spread evenly throughout the building. 6th Form facilities are given a separate identity and zone by elevating them to the first floor and library and exam room are on the top floor for greatest acoustic separation.

Great care has been taken to alternate the new interventions with the historic openings on each wing whilst ensuring symmetry across the building. The existing stone quoins from the original opening has been reused to frame the new bi-fold doors which are seen as a necessity for the flow of indoor-outdoor class bases and the visual connection with the landscape.

The proposals are considered to be a sensitive and positive contribution to the region whilst also providing a much-needed permanent home for the growing needs of the Lighthouse Special Free School.

The scheme was funded by the Education funding authority.