The New St. Martin’s Special School (Site Area: 4 acres; Building 4,106m2) will accommodate pupils with special educational needs, ranging from autism, mild, moderate, to severe and profound – with multiple and challenging disabilities. These needs demanded suitable design responses in terms of planning and specification, while the design also includes the provision of soft impact play areas, multi-sensory rooms, and sensory garden spaces.
St. Martins Special School is a school for children with severe disabilities, to autism (it is not designed exclusively for children with autism, but to include them). Due to the nature of this new school, a large amount of research was carried out prior to any design work – with this involving the rereviewing of unique guidelines, good practice procedures, case studies of similar projects, and, importantly, meeting, and discussing the client’s requirements, & visiting schools of a similar nature.
Designed by C.J. Falconer & Associates using BIM/Revit – the Concepts for the new school was ‘Movement and Light’, and the aim to create a home-like environment without an institutionalised feel.
To ensure ease of use for students with mobility-impairments, and open up space for light and use, the school was designed as a single-storey – affording 4,106m2 in floor-space – at the heart of which, is a Courtyard, Dining, Kitchen and General Purpose area. The conventional corridor is banished, and turned into useable space in its own right – with access through double doors to the central courtyard / Sensory Garden. This effectively ‘breaks the mould’ of the institutional approach to accommodation facilities, and creates a space that can be utilised, especially for play.