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Location: Moor Park, Hertfordshire

Client: Merchant Taylors’ School

Value: £5m

Status: Completed November 2015

Merchant Taylors Design Tech Building

In 2010, ArchitecturePLB was invited to participate in a RIBA Competition for a new Design Centre for the school. In assessing the site proposed for the new building, however, we identified a number of conflicts within the wider campus, in particular between pedestrians and vehicles.

As part of our competition submission we therefore took the radical decision to propose relocating the new building. By so doing we created space for a new perimeter road that would reroute vehicles away from the centre of the site to allow discrete and safe access. The perimeter road would link a number of existing and new carparking areas and allow deliveries to the rear of the site including the school’s maintenance department and main kitchen.

This proposal led the school to commission of us a comprehensive 20-year masterplan, carried out in advance of progressing the Design Centre. Following a school-wide engagement process, we developed a seven phase proposal that sought to rationalise and consolidate teaching departments, address shortfalls in provision, and establish three major opportunity areas for future development.

As well as helping the school to plan its long term investment strategy, the masterplan also proved invaluable in negotiating planning consents in a very sensitive setting which includes listed buildings within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

Having now delivered the first four phases of construction, the masterplan remains a living document, providing a framework for development while adjusting to meet the school’s changing needs and priorities.

The new Design & Technology building provides the department with facilities that deliver a quality of learning environment in keeping with the department’s academic success. The building looks to outwardly celebrate the department’s work to both visitors, from its prominent location at the heart of the school, and to pupils; the large areas of glazing in the workshops acting as display windows as students circulate around the school.

The accommodation comprises four technology workshops, areas for physical and computer modelling, a technician’s prep room, spray room, heat bay, three design classrooms, two art classrooms, sixth form breakout space and a large projects workshop intended for longer term and collaborative projects.