St Pancras School
Baker-Brown, Duncan (2005) St Pancras School DfES Innovation Unit.
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Official URL: http://artsresearch.brighton.ac.uk/research/academ...
Architect and researcher, Baker-Brown’s work is centred in environmental and social sustainability. His design philosophy, practically mobilised in the St Pancras School project, was expressed through the research questions he posed and addressed in the 'Built Ecologies' exhibition at the University of Brighton (2007): Is it possible to develop contemporary buildings in an environmentally benign manner? Is it viable economically and aesthetically? Could this way of working, using local materials and skills, be the beginning of a new local architectural identity? Commissioned to design a new Arts and Science wing for the grant-maintained St Pancras School in Lewes, East Sussex, Baker-Brown used collaborative practice-based methods to engage the school’s Principal, Governors (including artist Hammick), and pupils with architectural and educational development processes towards the design of their new building, which was to have ‘the smallest negative effect on the natural world’. Baker-Brown facilitated the school community’s construction of a curriculum grounded in sustainability, exploring, for example, local-source sweet chestnuts for the glulam structure (the first of its kind in the world), sustainable cedar shingles, sheep’s wool insulation, non-toxic paints, and the first ground-source heat pump used in a UK school. The project’s innovative methods and technologies attracted DfES Innovation Unit funding of £15K for a school DVD to capture the project and disseminate its good practice in England and Wales. The DVD (published DfES, 2007) was designed as a learning aid during the building’s construction and combines the ideals of Jon Sorrell’s ‘joined up thinking for schools’ initiative with PFI and an ambitious sustainable agenda. Following the project’s success, Baker-Brown facilitated over 40 associated schools workshops across South East England, and also applied his design philosophy to commissions for the Bridge Community, Hastings and the Priory Centre, Hastings.
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