St. Michael’s School

User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) ‘is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product’.

The Intelligent Design Centre does not believe this is often achieved in Architecture and that the detailed picture, the one associated building experience, is often overlooked at the expense of grandiose concepts.

St Michael’s was amongst a number of school projects that provided an opportunity to demonstrate this approach.  Faced with the need to accommodate new pupils in temporary accommodation IDC worked with the head teacher to deliver a Whole School Development Plan.  This not only proposed off-site manufactured zero carbon user-experience-designed classrooms, it also considered the wider implication of increasing school numbers such as staff accommodation, storage, catering, increased car parking and security.

Location: Bowthorpe, Norwich

Keys Aspects: Intelligent Design, UXD

Riverside Junior School

Following a number of design exercises with Year 5 and 6 classes, the scheme was designed to give a space of comfort and security for children who are having emotional and/or other issues, during the school day. Offering an area of peace and a chance to unwind, troubled children can discuss their issues with teachers and other qualified adults. It is not a playground or a fun room.

The design encourages varied use and has elements within it that enable the children to be suitably distracted and calmed with comforts they use in the everyday, such as music, aromatherapy, and books that take their minds away from the issues at hand.

Not only were we instrumental in the final design we were also involved in its construction – along with about 30 other parents, governors and staff. This community cohesion is of lasting benefit.

Location: Hebden Bridge
Key Aspects: Interior Design, Surveys, Collaboration

Stradbroke School

The design process is a complex one, no more so than at the outset of the project, and we recognise that changes to established systems cannot be affected wholesale. We do however believe that a more thorough design integration exercise can be promoted which places true sustainability at the heart of the process. This approach acted as an aide memoir to Stradbroke and provided a backdrop for improving the ‘value’ of on-going investment, and promotion of a move away from re-active building management.

The school kindly allowed us access to information, particularly in relation to building configuration and energy expenditure which was subsequently used to establish a baseline position from which to measure improvements in efficiency. The ‘design’ reviews covered Building Design, Interior Design, Heating and lighting and Environmental Design.

Location: Sheffield
Key Aspects: Sustainability, Surveys, Finance

Garstang Primary School

As a precursor to the later development of our thoughts regarding the effectiveness of truly sustainable design in schools, IDC completed this small extension project at a school in Lancashire.

The project required the development of a new building to provide 3 pre-school classroom accommodation with ancillary spaces, offices and meeting rooms. The 110m/sq building was located to the front of an existing school on previously un-developed land. The focus was on sustainable design as well as ensuring that the design did not visually detract from the main school building.

The answer was to create a wedge-shaped building complete with a living roof designed to visually reduce the volume of the building and create integration with the surrounding landscape.

Location: Garstang, Lancashire
Key Aspects: Architecture, Sustainability