Thursday, 15 September 2011

Leeds Society of Architects visit the Sandal Magna Primary School in Wakefield

The Leeds Society of Architects recently organised a visit to the 2011 RIBA Award winning Sandal Magna Community Primary School in Wakefield designed by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

The headmistress of the school gave us a guided tour of the building, giving us an insight into the excitement of being a client on such an inspirational building project. A snapshot of the afternoon is shown in the gallery below.

The approach to the building is enclosed between two walls behind which school activities take place. A living wall hangs above the entrance door with the school bell towering above, providing a firm reminder of the Victorian building that the teachers and pupils previously occupied.
The school hall is cathedral-like, clad mainly in timber, with a latticework of brick to each gable end. Light poors into the space through the vast sky-lights above.

Classrooms are simple, with exposed structure and services above. All classrooms have been designed to be exactly the same, so that there is not seen to be any hierarchy between student groups. The only thing that differentiates each space are the different colour themes added to internal joinery and doors to the outside. All classrooms have direct access to outside space.

Light is key to the scheme, and this expressed through a number of different well-crafted windows. In the library area, child-height window seats have been created to face the playing fields and landscape beyond. These directional windows has created a see-saw effect in the facade.

The importance of the relationship between inside and outside is expressed through full height glazing adjacent to brightly coloured classroom doors.
The event was very well attended and we must thank everyone who came along and made it so successful. Thanks also to the Leeds Society of Architects and their Chair Edward Park who planned this event and provided these photos.

For those of you who were unable to attend, RIBA Yorkshire are holding their Annual General Meeting meeting at Sandal Magna with a building tour by the architect Sarah Wigglesworth. If you would like to attend, please email denise.o' or call 0113 389 9870.

We are always interested to hear your views, so if you have visited a building recently that you think would be of interest to a wider audience, or there is a building you would like to visit, please let us know at

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