Barrow Hall School with energy efficient rainscreen cladding

Ellis Williams Architects (EWA) were appointed to undertake the design of the school project and specified VIVIX® by Formica Group for the external cladding of the new build.

Population growth is placing an additional burden on the resources of many local communities. In terms of education, the strain is manifest in the lack of schools and the increasing demand for school places. Warrington Borough Council has addressed the issue by relocating a primary school, Barrow Hall, to the site of a new residential development.

With school design being an influential factor on student learning and performance engagement meetings were held during the development of the new project. The aim of the meetings was to ensure the design proposal met the satisfaction of the staff, pupils, parents and local residents.

The consultations established that the project design should reflect the school’s organisation and curriculum delivery by providing the build with an ethos and identity.

VIVIX® panels in Storm, Baikal, China Blue and Spectrum Blue decors were applied to the entrance of the school while panels in Carnaval, Maui, Spectrum Yellow, Vibrant Green and China Blue decors brought colour to the courtyard. The juxtaposition of vibrant colours against subdued greys helped in establishing a distinctive character and personality for the school buildings.A further aim of the design of the new build, as highlighted during the consultations, was to ensure that all pupils who attend are ‘happy enthusiastic and purposeful learners’. EWA worked closely with the school and local authorities in a bid to develop a design that avoided the pitfalls of existing building stock. One aspect being the consideration given to energy efficiencies during the build; a factor that can play an influential role on occupant comfort.

The client brief contained strong direction for the school to incorporate minimal mechanical ventilation. The application of 8mm thick VIVIX® panels for the school exterior offered multiple moisture shedding pathways to help keep the building dry and well-insulated. When used as part of a rainscreen ventilated system, VIVIX® panels can contribute to a building’s thermal efficiency. 

The former Barrow Hall Primary School occupied buildings which were considered by the Council to be in poor condition. For the new build it was imperative that consideration be given to good design that limits future maintenance costs. The durable properties of VIVIX® panels offers a rainscreen cladding solution that is easy to clean and one that will maintain its aesthetic regardless of weather conditions or exposure to UV rays. Should the material need to be replaced its lightweight nature and ease of application means less disruption to the running of the school.

Made in Britain VIVIX® panels for Barrow Hall Primary School were manufactured by Formica Group at its UK manufacturing plant, reducing on material transportation and the overall project carbon footprint. Furthermore in this time of post-Brexit economic uncertainty, Formica Group, as a British manufacturer, is able to provide price stability on its products to UK businesses.

Ellis Williams Architects

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