In early 2016 Walters & Cohen was approached to contribute to a project that creates new communities near Hatfield, Hertfordshire. As part of a wider masterplan, our role was to provide an outline feasibility statement for the education provision in a new village known as Symondshyde and for an extension to the town of Stanboroughbury.
The project began with a design charrette attended by a wide range of stakeholders and the design team, led by urban planners DPZ, with whom we had previously worked on the masterplan for the Chapelton of Elsick. The charrette created productive discussion; it was especially useful to be able to sketch out ideas and receive immediate feedback from the stakeholders.
One primary school and one all-through school are proposed. The Symondshyde primary school lies at the heart of the village to create a positive relationship with the community. In Stanboroughbury, we explored the idea of co-locating the primary and secondary school so that they can share facilities and make the most of resources and land. The area to the north of the school site will remain in the Greenbelt, so makes good use of the fields for a variety of sports.
After exploring options, a pavilion typology was chosen for the all-through school. This allows a phased construction and the opportunity for expansion in line with the new housing, as well as secure use of certain facilities outside of school hours. We proposed that pavilions around the primary school courtyard could be smaller in scale, with nursery classes located in one pavilion and primary classes in another. In the secondary school, pavilions could be grouped to represent educational zones. Those with shared uses, such as dining and library, are positioned around a public courtyard in the centre of the school.