Written by Clare Ailward Regional Director, Manchester

We won a design competition to design a new Learning Resource Centre that would respect and protect the heritage of the prestigious Hymers College, whilst also providing a flexible, adaptable and technology-rich learning environment.

The School commissioned a Premises Development Plan and masterplan which established a framework for future development. This identified the need for a new Learning Resource Centre positioned at the heart of the school as its number one priority. Our proposals seek to complement and reinstate the ‘quad’ as a valuable social space helping define the character of the school. The £3m development incorporates 1,500m² of open plan learning, a café and multi-function hall within the much loved ‘Old Gymnasium’, small group/ meeting rooms, conference room, IT suites, and offices.

Sector(s)

  • Schools and Academies

Value
£3m

Client(s)
Hymers College

Size
1,487m²

Location
Hull, UK

Design

Large open plan spaces are connected vertically at each end of the building, with a dramatic triple height atrium at the centre facing the quad. The glass wall of the atrium is softly mirrored reflecting the Grade II Listed building and references the composition and rhythm of the original façade. A sculptural helical stair in the centre wraps around the Librarian’s desk at ground level and help desk at first floor where the entire floor plates can be monitored by staff. The Library is acoustically zoned with the quietest study space taking full advantage of views across a covenanted green space.

Go to Build

“I have nothing but good words to say about Jefferson Sheard. When they tendered, they were the only ones to come and see me, explore the site and really get to grips with the challenges before they began their thinking – they understood the subtleties and the needs of the students. It showed and it’s the reason they won and we continue to work with them.”

David Elstone, Headmaster, Hymers College

Build

The school’s vintage gymnasium is sympathetically refurbished as a multi-function hall and the southern brick gable adds character within the new café foyer. Internally, paint has been carefully removed to restore the timber roof structure and brick piers; exposing the striking structural form. The roof has been thermally upgraded using natural sheep’s wool insulation. The new build LRC is naturally ventilated by automated opening vents at low and high level via the atrium voids. Large northerly facing window apertures allow plentiful daylight to the interior.

Go to In-use

“It’s been very exciting to see the dramatic interior spaces gradually come to life over the last few months. The coloured glass panels create a lively internal environment, and you can begin to see framed views across the attractive Hymers College campus and grounds.”

Clare Ailward, Architect

In-use

The completed LRC is a flexible, adaptable technology-rich learning environment positioned at the heart of the school, with space for open-plan learning, a café and a multi-function hall housed within the old gymnasium. After working on the scheme for over 2 years, it feels very special to see the library space buzzing with activity and being used by the students in all the ways we envisaged.

“The sensitive restoration of the former gymnasium and its historic features with the addition of the new LRC which has many facets which are innovative and show the historic buildings surrounding it in a beautiful light shows the work of the architects and builders as being of the highest possible standard.”

Sean Chaytor, Head of the Planning Committee

The Team

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