Gloucester Language Immersion Centre
Design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
image © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
9 Aug 2010
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have received planning permission for Gloucester’s unique Language Immersion Centre.
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios were appointed in September 2009 to design the £5.8 million Language Immersion Centre which will be built at Blackfriars Priory, Gloucester. Dating from the 13th century, it is the best preserved Dominican Priory in the country.
Language immersion is a highly original approach to the teaching of foreign languages, developed by Gloucestershire County Council as part of a successful bid to the Department for Children, Schools and Families for the construction of a world class learning facility in Gloucester. The centre will focus on languages rarely taught in the UK such as Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The residential facility “immerses” schoolchildren, mainly from ages 14 to 19, for prolonged periods in the target language within a digital environment that recreates aspects of the country in which that language is spoken. Further funding for the project has also been received from both English Heritage and the South West Regional Development Agency.
A group of 19th and 20th century industrial buildings that replaced the south-east quadrant of the medieval priory will be removed and the Language Immersion Centre will repair the form of the cloister courtyard. The new structure will include much needed service spaces that will unlock the viability of the medieval priory as a public venue, and help define a new public route linking across the site through the cloister to connect with a proposed new square. It will also reconnect to remote upper floors of adjoining priory ranges to make these usable and accessible to all.
The centre will be based within Blackfriars and will kick-start the regeneration of the area and boost regeneration in the city. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have previously lead the design team for the Gloucester Blackfriars masterplan which is widely regarded as the critical project within Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company’s major plans to redevelop the city. The project area contains more than 40 listed buildings, of which 23 are Grade 1 listed, and 2 scheduled ancient monuments.
Geoff Rich, Partner at FCB Studios, comments “We were pleased to be appointed to work with Gloucestershire County Council and the other stakeholders involved in this project. We have been working in Gloucester and at Blackfriars Priory for many years and are excited by the prospect of completing the historic cloister with a contemporary piece of architecture. This project re-establishes the Priory as a pioneering seat of learning which brings an element of continuity with its historical function.”
Chris Oldershaw, Chief Executive of the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company (GHURC), said :“We are delighted that a top flight architect was appointed for such a sensitive site and, with the South West Design Review Panel, worked closely with all partners on the design. This scheme shows how contemporary architecture works well within an historic area.”
Gloucester Language Immersion Centre images / information from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios