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The new Science Centre at Abingdon School provides exceptional quality teaching spaces for biology, chemistry and physics.

The building was designed to provide a clear distinction between individual faculties with each subject occupying a different floor of the building. The layout provides an ideal environment for learning – maximising daylight and natural ventilation. It is therefore necessary for the structure to provide maximum clear spans using shallow floor depths whilst maintaining dynamic and acoustic criteria. The concrete solution additionally allows the utilisation of exposed soffits to provide thermal mass and a passive means of regulating the internal environment.

A key internal feature of the building is the main entrance staircase, formed from folded steel plate and hung from each floor slab. A careful dynamic assessment of the stair’s behaviour was undertaken to ensure that this sensitive structure conforms to recognised performance criteria even when subjected to the high demands and usage patterns of a busy school environment.
In addition to the new building, which was positioned to address a main access route onto the site, the proposals also included a large coach park. A significant proportion of the school’s pupils arrive and leave by coach, therefore this provides space for multiple coaches to arrive and depart simultaneously. By using porous paving, petrol interceptors and soakaways, all of the surface water is disposed of on site, avoiding the need for costly connections into the public sewer.

Andrew Weir

Client: Abingdon School

Architects: Hopkins Architects

Project Value: £9m

Status: Completed

Abingdon School Science Centre