St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School
Bury St Edmunds
‘The Nest’ at St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School is a Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) facility - it sits separately from the main school close to the woods and water meadows that the school are custodians over.
The timber frame building was designed between quite different external environments, the woodlands and water meadows, green playing fields and hard play surfaces.
The close proximity to the existing sixth form strengthens the presence of the sixth form and affords the opportunity to create an individual identity.
The design slots into a linear space on a slope adjacent an old brick wall that divides the playing fields. A
stilted wooden deck, an extension of the building, abuts the wall and makes an amazing safe and
protected outdoor learning environment and connects the school to the woodlands below. Old protected
trees and school garden sheds surround the building and a separately commissioned multi surface games
area lies to the West which, far more urban in it’s construction, gives the building a completely different
feel on this edge. This contrasting notion is reflective of how the school has grown organically over the
years and, we think, a big part of its charm and character.
The interior vaulted spaces are designed with colourful stained plywood storage walls, inbuilt benching and wood fibre acoustics ceiling boards which all have natural material qualities exposed to help contribute to a more homely learning atmosphere.
The three classrooms all have a different colour quality and external outlook which helps with the identity, atmosphere and way-making through the building. A ‘mini entrance porch’ is integrated into the plywood storage walls of the two end classrooms which helps pupils transition into the learning spaces and the middle classroom has internal glazing in the walls that connects to the main entrance and decking for orientation and to help activate the corridor spaces.
RIBA Suffolk Design Award Winner 2023
The project has been honoured with the RIBA Suffolk Design Award for 2023, and we extend our gratitude to St. Edmund's Primary School, RCDEA, RIBA Suffolk, the SJCC, and all those who contributed to this achievement, including the main contractor TJ Evers.