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Design excellence

Winner of Hertfordshire Building Futures Design Excellence Award 2009

The John F. Kennedy RC School identified a need for a new sports and teaching facility. To accommodate this need a new building was constructed, constituting an overall additional floorspace of 2,750m² incorporating space for sport, drama, art, library, music and a library.   

Key elements of the design were focused around enhancing the accessibility, enjoyment and functionality for users of the space. The immediate area around the building and around the spinney has been upgraded, with all three entrances designed to be welcoming and easily distinguished, with an appropriate level of signage.

The building has been designed to DCFS space standards, which takes into account the needs of pupils and staff with disabilities, and particular attention has been paid to circulation of areas to ensure a stimulating and enjoyable experience between classrooms. Several areas are intended to have a dual functional use, for instance the first floor corridor doubles as an art gallery and the sports hall with its window shutters converts into a national standard badminton venue.


The building is designed in a low key contemporary style, with the elements expressed externally as timber-clad boxes in an L shaped configuration enclosing two sides of the newly established woodland resource.  The new building is modern, but low key. The timber cladding relates and complements the woodland setting and aims to communicate the environmental aspirations of both the building and the school.



Within the development an emphasis has been placed on providing satisfactory levels of comfort while minimising energy consumption. In order to reduce energy levels, a biomass boiler has been fitted, along with other technologies including a hybrid ventilation system. The electrical distribution infrastructure has been incorporated into the building to accept wind power and photovoltaic installations in the future. The school has also integrated the renewable energy focus of the building into the teaching curriculum.



Project team:

Client - Archdiocese of Westminster

Architect - Perkins Ogden Architects