Paxton Primary School went through a massive extension project that transformed the single-form entry school into a three-form school accommodating 720 children. Located in the London Borough of Lambeth, the brand new £8.25 million school now includes 23 classrooms over four storeys, two double-height sports halls, dining halls, and various areas of teaching space. The split level 3736m² site includes a play area on two levels while the ground floor opens out onto a play and learning area for both nursery and reception children.

Designed by Paul Murphy Architects, the entire extension project was completed in just 22 weeks thanks to CORIUM’s fast track offsite construction methods.

A key requirement for the project was that the existing school would remain operational during the construction period. The new school would replace and extend the existing school on the same site in time for the start of the new school year. Speed of construction was, therefore, of vital importance.

Extraspace Solutions, the main contractors on this project, worked closely in partnership with Paul Murphy Architects to arrive at a solution that provided the most energy-effective, low maintenance service solution matching the clients’ needs.

Since the project plans originally called for a traditional facing brick finish, Mario Sacco, Architect at Paul Murphy Architects, contacted Taylor Maxwell (TM) to select an appropriate brick type for the scheme.

Following consultations with TM representative Aaron Doyle, it was decided that CORIUM’s brick cladding system would be the ideal solution. Having used the CORIUM system previously, both Mario and Extraspace Solutions knew that the school could be completed in a shorter timeframe than a traditional facing brick choice would have allowed.

Aaron explained that the brick cladding system offered a great combination of a traditional facing brick appearance with fast-track installation.

“The benefit of CORIUM’s all-weather install was a massive plus for this incredibly time-sensitive project, as well as the different bond patterns that could be achieved including stack bond. CORIUM appeared to tick all the boxes,” he added.

Paul Tierney, Managing Director of Extraspace Solutions said CORIUM was selected for speed of installation. Having used it before, they were aware of its efficiency in getting the four-storey project completed quickly unlike traditional brick.

Being a modular system, CORIUM brick cladding helped achieve a time saving of approximately 50% against traditional construction methods, with many of the building components completed before delivery to site. This also helped minimise disruption to both staff and students as well as in the neighbourhood since the school was located in a densely populated part of London.

Extraspace Solutions was also able to minimise trips to site, as well as significantly reduce the amount of waste created, compared to a conventional build.

According to Paul Tierney, the project scope required them to demolish the existing school and complete the new school within a very strict timeframe. Key challenges included an extremely restrictive site and a working school, which meant they had very little space on site to do any of the works. Thanks to CORIUM, they were able to install all 116 off-site modules in three-and-a-half weeks, prior to the installation.

The brand new school has been clad with a simple palette of CORIUM brick finishes to maintain simplicity and continuity throughout the site; however, a nonstandard double thick CORIUM tile has been used to create a stunning protruding brick facade feature that provides interest and depth to the tall elevations.

Paul Tierney explained that the feature brick wall provided a ‘3D effect’ to the sports hall, making it stand out. The wall is 16m from ground level to roof, adding an interesting perspective that breaks up the tall elevation.

Due to the fast-track construction methods employed, Extraspace Solutions succeeded in delivering a new school, comprising of steel frame construction and concrete floors to the Borough of Lambeth within just 22 weeks, and right on time for the school opening.

Mario Sacco, Architect at Paul Murphy Architects said:

“It is a very good project, when you consider what was achieved; given the limitation of the site and time involved, the CORIUM bricks gave a great result. We have used other brick cladding systems in the past, and this is our second time using CORIUM. It seems like a better system than the others, the appearance is of a better quality and there is a decent choice of bricks that can be used.”

Paxton Primary School was named as a finalist in two categories - Best Use of Volumetric Technology and Best Hybrid Construction Project - at the Offsite Construction Awards 2016.

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