The first phase of a major extension, re-modelling and refurbishment project at the prestigious British Council School in Madrid, Spain, masterplanned and designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan, has completed and opened to staff and students. It has created a new 1,250 square metre secondary school wing, comprising 12 teaching rooms, resource areas and an undercroft sports area, as part of the wider scheme at the 12,000 square metre school in Somosaguas, to the east of Madrid city centre, which caters for around 2,000 children between three and 18 years of age.
The new building, a key part of the School which is attended by the children of many of Spain’s top politicians, actors and sports stars, was inaugurated by Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of British Council, who was accompanied by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Madrid, His Excellency Mr Giles Paxman.
In future project phases the practice’s masterplan and designs will result in the creation, remodelling of refurbishment of teaching areas, science labs, libraries, entrances, staff areas and dining halls across the School, and involve associated environmental projects to improve internal environments and sustainability performance.
The practice’s statement architecture reflects the brand and aspirations of its client, The British Council, and was led by UK-based director Aidan Ridyard and Madrid-based Simon James.
Aidan Ridyard said: “This milestone is testament to close client partnering and the collaboration of our diverse education experts in the UK and Spain. Through their international design skills, expertise and experience, track-record in evolving pioneering approaches, energy for the project and local knowledge, we have delivered contemporary and location-specific designs.
“We have dissolved the edge of the classrooms, connecting them to adjacent spaces for self-directed learning, utilising a buffer zone of ancillary space outside the classrooms, where students can use information and communications technology equipment while on view to teachers in classrooms. All teaching spaces front a ‘light well’ and sand-blasted glass flooring allows light to percolate through the heart of the building.”
The practice was commissioned following a competition in 2008, with a complex and rigorous brief to design flexibility into teaching areas with interconnecting multifunctional spaces for art and drama classes, opening up into larger volumes to accommodate performances and exhibitions.
In response to dramatic changes in local climatic conditions, the design team also used thermal mass, extensive shading devices and solar harvesting to ensure teaching environments are economically optimised all year round.