Designing a Rural Education

"We chose to design a nature reserve because we are passionate about nature and want to share this interest with everyone." (Theo)

This was the winning entry for the architect's competition. The students' concept is being incorporated into the final designs for the new school. 

"We presented our ideas to the architect using our chromebooks connected to an overhead projector," explained Sacha, "My friend won a special commendation for his plans. He was given a really good book called 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School."

101 Things I learned in Architecture School, No. 30: "A proper building grows naturally, logically and poetically out of all its contitions" (Louis Sullivan)

Steart Farm is located within the AONB. It is being run as a touring park with areas of amenity grass, gravel and tarmac access. This plan shows how the school building and car parks will be located at the back of the site nearest the A39. Set into the hillside, clad in earthy tones, and screened by broadleaf woodland, it will be virtually invisible from the sea and coastal paths. 

101 Things I learned in Architecture School, No.97: 'Limitations Encourage Creativity'

This leaves an extensive area of land, whose wooded and undulating nature will never be viable for development. "The limitations of the site are what makes it so suitable for the Academy," said Chair of Governors, Richard Bence, "Instead of being covered in concrete, the environment will become a huge outdoor classroom, a magnificent natural resource for learning."
Nurturing the Resources

Maximising the exceptional educational potential of Steart Farm means nurturing the environment.  Where areas of the present site are 'species poor', planting and landscaping will increase biodiversity. The broadleaf woodland at the perimeter will be preserved with the help of experts in woodland management.

More than a School

So with Steart Farm, it seems we really need to adjust our concept of 'school' to something far more than bricks and mortar. As the students' design above clearly shows, the young people of Route 39 Academy have already made that adjustment.