The recently completed STEAM Hub at Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth, designed by Western Design Architects (WDA), is an exciting new building which will enable the delivery of Interdisciplinary learning powered by Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) as part of their new curriculum. The Hub will give students access to Virtual Reality, immersive projection, holographic studios, animation tools and green screen facilities as well as access to industry standard equipment.
Designed by two female architects at WDA, the Hub embodies the school’s approach to the STEAM curriculum, promoting women in the construction and design industries whilst inspiring students to embrace and foster change. Designed using state of the art BIM technology, the Hub champions innovative design and together with the new curriculum, the school was named one of the most innovative and influential independent schools in the country.
The new multifunctional double height auditorium is capable of seating 600, with raked seating that folds away to create either a large open plan space or three flexible learning spaces. The stage is able to support full scale productions and will be available for community hire. The building boasts open plan break out spaces providing study, social and new exhibition spaces. New studios for drama, art, textiles, graphic design and robotics are provided as well as a café on the ground floor which looks through to a new state of the art covered pool with changing facilities. WDA were key in the design of bespoke furniture and seating within the café and entrance area, providing students with intimate spaces to gather and work in collaboration outside of the classroom.
Outside, new raised bench seating with soft planting and three full sized netball courts have been creatively positioned around the Hub. Within the planter sits Surge; a 4 metre high red glass sculpture created by local artist Rebecca Newnham. It comprises of three uprights that progressively bend and twist into arrowhead chevrons which echo ripples of a dynamic vortex. Rebecca states ‘that putting art at the heart of a school curriculum is important’ and Surge serves as a visual and interactive piece of art that celebrates this ethos.
The contemporary external aesthetic is continued inside the building’s internal spaces with a full height open atrium, exposed steel and services on show, allowing students to fully engage with the architecture of the building. Sustainable building technologies and eco-friendly features employed in the building such as solar panels, natural ventilation and LED window lighting help to highlight current issues to students which are at the forefront of sustainable design for the future. Their engagement with these technologies on a day to day basis will help to foster sustainable and innovative thinking going forward for a generation looking to reduce their carbon footprint and impact within the built environment.
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