Millfield School, Day House Building
Gypsy Lane, Street, Somerset
Internal Floor Area
A Gathering Place: Creating a welcoming and uplifting day house that connects to the external landscape.
Page\Park have been working with Millfield school since early 2019 on the design of new day house facilities.
The new day house building will be located between the Gareth Edwards Rugby pitch and all-weather hockey pitch and will replace the existing timber-clad buildings along Somerton Road. The two-storey building will provide communal social and study space for each of the day houses with shared areas providing space for houses to socialise together. The ground floor will house new changing facilities for the day houses and provide additional facilities for the sports pitches at weekends.
The external landscape has been designed as a south-facing garden that will increase the biodiversity of the site, with spaces to relax, socialise or watch matches on the neighbouring pitches.
City & Land
The project provides an opportunity to enhance an underused part of the school campus and deliver a building that engages positively with the external landscape. The site was cleared previously for a construction project that did not go ahead. It is a large, generally flat area of land between Gipsy Lane, the Gareth Edwards rugby pitch, and all-weather hockey pitch. Mature trees along Gipsy Lane will be protected and the soft landscaping enhanced.
Compositionally the approach has been to exploit the change in level between Gipsy Lane and the rugby pitch. The first-floor day houses are positioned at the top of the slope overlooking the rugby and hockey pitches – appearing like a low lying “sports pavilion”. A mono-pitch roof rises towards the rugby pitch with a dual-purpose canopy extending along the length of the external terrace to provide solar shading and shelter for spectators.
The ground-floor level, housing changing rooms, toilets, plant, and vertical circulation – addresses the more public, south face of the site. It is positioned at the base of the slope with an external landscaped area surrounding the drop-off and entrance. The landscape has been designed by the landscape architect to mimic the Somerset Levels, by means of sculpted mounds offering a series of external garden rooms with seating areas and overspill space to gather and socialise amongst the trees. The pedestrian route along the south edge of the site will be adjusted to maintain level access between Gipsy Lane, the Gareth Edwards rugby pitch, and all-weather hockey pitch.
Many of the buildings throughout the campus are clad in a wide variety of brick or stone, in a range of grey, brown and buff tones. The proposed brick has been chosen to harmonise the range of existing materials on site and relates to the tonal qualities of the local stone. The new aluminium windows, doors, soffits, and metalwork will be coloured in a warm dark grey finish to compliment both the red and new light grey brickwork. Externally, the terrace steps and new seating elements are to be a light-coloured precast concrete. With stainless-steel handrails to the entrance steps and timber slatted tops to the benches to tie in with the surrounding landscaped gardens.
Page\Park worked alongside the school’s estates team and acoustic engineer to develop a robust and functional material palette that would minimize ongoing maintenance requirements and ensure longevity. In addition, the thermal performance of the new extension is designed to exceed building regulation requirements. Occupied spaces are orientated to take advantage of natural light while overhangs, deep window reveals, timber louvres and canopies manage solar gain. Openable windows maximise user control and lessen dependence on mechanical ventilation. Air source heat pumps and PV panels are proposed to reduce CO2 emissions and running costs.
Page\Park and other design consultants worked closely with the school to develop the project brief. Using documents prepared by Millfield School’s Estate Team with input from members of the schools Senior Leadership Team as a basis for discussion. Page\Park’s project team went on to engage in a structured consultation process with the staff. Utilizing hand crafted models and the 3D outputs of BIM combined with real-time rendering software to explore and convey design options as the brief evolved to meet the school’s needs, existing context, and project vision.
The day houses provide a range of facilities including social, quiet, study and refreshment areas alongside working areas for the house staff. Taking advantage of the surrounding natural assets large areas of glazing maximise views whist drawing in abundant natural light. Natural materials and colours are used throughout. The internal material palette has been tailored to meet acoustic, comfort and hygiene requirements as well as create a homely, welcoming, and uplifting environment. Ceilings are clad in natural wood wool panelling, walls are lined in plywood, bespoke internal fittings are manufactured in plywood and soft furnishing and floor finish hues take precedent from the surrounding landscape and existing raw building materials.
The project is driven by a desire to improve social learning space on the campus and provide pupils with the support spaces to suit their needs. The vision for the day houses is to embed a co-educational place for day pupils at the heart of the campus. This will further integrate day house pupils with the wider school community and provide enhanced facilities by increasing the amount and quality of study space.
The new building will provide space for 250-day house pupils divided into 3 co-educational houses. Supported by positive circulation spaces that take the form of informal break-out social space as well as individual and group study areas. In addition to changing, shower and toilet facilities.