Milton Keynes Academy: School Building

Milton Keynes Building, Education Architecture, Academies Framework Development, Design, Image

Milton Keynes Academy

Leadenhall Education Building, England, UK for Kier Education Consortium – design by BDP Architects

22 Feb 2008

Milton Keynes Academy

Design: BDP

Milton Keynes School Building

Milton Keynes Academy, in the Leadenhall area of the city, is the first of the new Academies Framework schemes to achieve planning permission. Designed by interdisciplinary practice BDP, as part of Kier Education’s consortium, the 13,000 sq m Academy for 1,550 11 to 18 year olds is due to start on site at the beginning of March (2008).

Milton Keynes Academy

The academy specialising in Business Enterprise which includes a 6th form, will replace the existing Sir Frank Markham community college when it opens in September 2009 and will take students from across the city and beyond.

Education foundation Edge is the sponsor who, working with Milton Keynes Council, is keen to promote vocational education and its focus on “learning by doing” underpinned the design process.

All practical or vocational space of this three storey school is on the ground floor and will be visible and celebrated from the welcoming entrance space which is part of the central hub. Three blocks radiate from this hub accommodating the Art & Design Technology, Science, and Drama & Music departments each with access to its own garden, or in the case of the latter, to an outdoor performance space. Other teaching space above is arranged into five separate year-based ‘villages’ each a self supporting unit with its own facilities – ICT and open learning zones. A large proportion of the area is open-plan with the aim of promoting self-directed learning and a greater mix of small group activities. Generally students will remain in their own villages and the teachers move amongst them.

Throughout there is an important connection between the landscape and teaching spaces.

There is also a strong community aspect to the new academy allowing members of the community use of the facilities. Local businesses will be encouraged to rent space in the Business and Enterprise Hub, situated above the entrance, in return for practical teaching. This Hub will be designed and furnished in a manner akin to commercial office space.

The indoor sports hall is on an upper level with the dining hall beneath. Sports pitches have also been reinstated observing Sport England guidelines.

Externally there will be a habitat area for educational use and to enhance ecology and promote the growth of rare local plant species. The SUDS (sustainable drainage system) is in the form of a wetland reed pond forming part of the habitat area.

The academy will be naturally ventilated and daylit with the aim of achieving a Very Good BREEAM rating. However it is proposed that the academy will be zero carbon, consistent with the Partnership for Schools guidelines.

BDP is architect, structural & civil and environmental engineer, interior designer, lighting and acoustic consultant, and landscape designer for this £22m (construction cost) academy. Marriott construction, the regional contracting arm of Kier Education, is the design & build contractor.

The Milton Keynes Academy is the first scheme procured entirely through the new academies framework run by Partnership for Schools on behalf of the Government with the purpose of speeding up delivery of the academies programme.

This new framework is the Government’s follow on from the previous way of procuring academies, with design teams working with a contractor consortium from the outset. Each academy is won through competition.

BDP has won two of these new academies in the case of Milton Keynes the Kier/BDP team won over Skanska/Architecture plb. The other is the Walworth Academy with Balfour Beatty/BDP winning over Skanska/Feilden Clegg.

Milton Keynes Academy building : BDP Information

Milton Keynes Academy architects : BDP


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