Proposed New Gloucester College Campus, Forest of Dean
Held at Hunter Page Planning Offices at 12.00pm on 20th September 2013
- Toby Coombes Architect, Coombes Everitt Architects (Chair)
- Joyce Clifford Architect, Quattro Design Architects
- Charles Cox Architect, Heath Avery
- David Jones Town Planner, Evans Jones
- Anthony Lewis Architect, Yiangou Artchitects
- Ross Sharpe Architect, Yiangou Architects
- Jonathan Nettleton Architect, Blake Architecture
The Architect and client’s advisor outlined the planning background and set out the context of the development as part of the larger development brief for the area to provide a sustainable mixed use development. They also ran through an overview of the site and summarised the following brief:
- The new facility should house the 3 key elements (vocational college, sixth form and a communal hub).
- The development site sits between the proposed new access road and an existing lake on a slightly sloping site with various arboricultural and ecological implications. These have been addressed in principal with the location of the buildings and car parking but further investigation and mitigation proposals will need to be made as part of the development of the scheme.
- The proposed building combines the 3 uses into a 2 storey building which is ‘V’ shaped plan with the principal entrance set at the inside point of the ‘V’ under a projecting section of building housing the library. This entrance ‘street’ then extends out from the building to meet the new external plaza, car parking and bus drop off. Internally the 2 wings house the various teaching and learning spaces with the hub located to provide views over the lake to the West. The principal of the layout appears logical in principal and we assume the operational working has been developed in line with the clients requirements.
- Externally the massing of the scheme is quite simplistic with the building having a continuous 2 storey parapet. The projecting library ‘pod’ adds some interest when viewed from long range but this will be difficult to read from closer range. The building is then elevated to echo the vertical rhythm of the adjacent wooded areas with what appears to be a bar code like series of vertical cladding and windows around the scheme.
Overall we believe the architect has presented a scheme which will, in due course provide a high quality learning environment to meet the local need. The overall principle of the design is supported but it is considered that some of the refinements set out above would help improve the design. In particular we note that a landscape proposal is absent but when this eventually compliments the design, we believe that this could ensure that the building sits more comfortably into the surrounding environment. In addition it is considered that the street through the building and providing more overlooking and activity onto it would be an improvement along with the approach to the cladding being more rigorous when viewed against the suggested precedent. Whilst the overall principle is accepted, it is considered that some of the minor modifications would strengthen the overall design approach.