March 20, 2023
“Wow, it’s like an oasis!”
We had a brilliant time showing the RIBA judges around Wootton Bassett Infants’ School this week for the South West regional awards shortlist. It was lovely to walk, slide and crouch around the project with them. The head teacher, Alison Pass, was an amazing host, especially when she mentioned how prospective parents have commented “wow, it’s like an oasis!” and a teaching assistant that the classroom is the best she’s ever worked in!
As can be seen from the photos, we managed to get all but one judge to go down the slide. This is part of the deeply integrated architecture and landscape design where levels played a key role as a catalyst for design. We hid under the treehouse library, which is a favourite spot for the pupils to play and where the school’s focus on reading is in evidence in abundance. It felt like they had dressed the library for the visit with “Iggy Pegg, Architect” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer” on the shelf!
It was great to hear comments about the quality of the internal spaces, the views enabled by the location of the buildings and the bridges and balconies came into their own as the winter weather closed in.
In recent post-occupation feedback the school have told us that pupil outcomes and attendance have both improved following the completion of the redevelopment. Also, and perhaps more importantly, that both the pupils and staff are happier.
We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for the RIBA awards. We feel we’ve had high praise already, but an award would be the cherry on the cake.