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Education Projects Stories

The King’s School Worcester and Associated Architects win Planning Permission on Bronze-Age Site


Birmingham-based practice Associated Architects has won planning permission for a new sports and performing arts centre on an historic site in Worcester. The new facility for The King’s School Worcester will provide sports and fitness facilities for School and community use, as well as teaching spaces, dance and drama studios and new Sixth Form Centre. The development is provisionally known as the SPACE building (short for Sports and Performing Arts Centre).

The site was identified by planners as a highly sensitive location of great archaeological significance, located on the former defensive line surrounding Castle Hill in Worcester. Although previously thought to be Norman, recent archaeological digs show the site was inhabited much earlier and predates the known history of Worcester, with fortifications which could date from the Bronze Age, c.1000 BC.

The design of SPACE responds sensitively to the history and context of the site.  The building reflects the scale and proportion of the former Royal Worcester Porcelain works on Severn Street opposite, and bronze-coloured metalwork and artwork will be integrated into the façade to evoke memories of Bronze Age Worcester.  A new flight of external steps forges a new route from Severn Street into the school and frames a dramatic view of the cathedral. The building will lead best sustainability practice, with renewable energy from wood-chip boilers and solar panels for heating, and free cooling provided via a ground source heat pump.

SPACE will be partially funded by the King’s Foundation Development Trust and generous donations by friends of the School. It follows the recent completion of Associated Architects’ striking Michael Baker Boathouse for King’s School Rowing Club, which hovers above Worcester’s regenerated riverside promenade.

Associated Architects director Matthew Goer said: “This successful planning application is the latest chapter in our long-standing relationship with King’s and shows the trust and close working relationships built up between the School, local authority and our practice.”

Headmaster of King’s School Tim Keyes said: “The SPACE building will complete the evolution of the school from a boy’s boarding school to a fully co-educational day school and is the final piece in the jigsaw of development to ensure that every King’s pupil can find, explore and develop his or her own potential.”

The project is due to commence on site in February 2013.