The architects behind a new £40 million ‘super school’ in Port Talbot, won the prestigious Gold Medal for Architecture at the 2017 Eisteddfod.
Stride Treglown, which has offices across the country including in Cardiff, designed Ysgol Bae Baglan to bring together the former Cwrt Sart, Glanafan and Sandfields comprehensive schools with Traethemelyn Primary School to provide a new ‘all-through’ school for pupils aged 3 – 16. It now houses 1,100 secondary and 300 primary school pupils together with fully integrated facilities for 100 pupils with additional learning needs, on one 15 hectare site
The school has three teaching wings that directly link to a large central space. There are two independent learning pods to allow for an increase in pupil numbers and for future expansion throughout the scheme. Both learning and social spaces have been designed to promote education with an affirmative effect on behaviour, attitude and well-being.
The school is also open to the community after hours and is used for cultural, social and sporting events.
Ysgol Bae Baglan is a highly sustainable project, achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating and an energy performance certificate of A. There are over 2,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels on the roof and there is a large transpired solar collector which passively pre-heats air to warm the sports halls, reducing running costs.
The architects fought off stiff competition from the designers behind three other projects across Wales to be awarded the Gold Medal of Architecture at the National Eisteddfod today (5 August), which is supported by the Design Commission for Wales and awarded in association with the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW).
Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the Design Commission for Wales, said: “Design and construction excellence should be the default for the public estate, not least the learning environments where our future generations will be shaped.
“The achievement of public value should be the priority in terms of return on the investment of public funds.
“Much like health, the educational estate, which has so profound an effect on the life chances of our children and communities, must lead the field. The client vision, design team collaboration and opportunity for a more cohesive community is inspirational and has formed the heart of a bold design solution.”
All four shortlisted projects for the Gold Medal will be included in the Architecture in Wales exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Anglesey from 4 - 12 August, which will feature specially commissioned photography of each building by James Morris, together with poetry by Elain Grug Muse.
Selector and architect, Gwyn Lloyd Jones from Studio Egret West, said of the winning design: “Ysgol Bae Baglan combines a high aspiration of uniting a local community with a dynamic architecture statement.
“Situated on a flat site, the roof form replicates the surrounding hills and makes the building approachable and welcoming. The classrooms are spacious with abundant natural light, while the long school corridor has a curved and playful shape.
“It is hoped that the school will become a focal point for the long term development of the area helping to bring the community together.”
RSAW director, Mary Wrenn, said: “At Ysgol Bae Baglan, the architects Stride Treglown have created a real sense of place and local distinctiveness. In particular, the magnificent central hub of multi-purpose spaces at the core of the school provides a fine gathering and sharing space. This is an impressive example of engagement and commitment between experienced architects and an enlightened client.”
The other projects that were shortlisted for the Gold Medal of Architecture were Rhyl High School, Denbighshire by AHR; CUBRIC (Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre) by IBI Group and Silver House, Gower by Hyde + Hyde Architects.