Waterhead Academy

Client: Oldham Council

Location: Oldham, Greater Manchester

A roof terrace, a bmx pump track and an outdoor climbing wall – just a flavor of the features we designed for the new 1500 place Waterhead Academy in Oldham. Located on the site of a former Mill and surrounded by open space, this undersized site with challenging levels and an existing watercourse presented us with many constraints which we turned into opportunities.

A learning environment that draws on its setting

Amphitheatres, viewing terraces, traversing walls and social spaces with integrated seating take advantage of the level changes. A ribbon of small learning and social spaces runs through the site. At the ‘urban’ end a public plaza welcomes the community to the main entrance and at the ‘rural’ end a green corridor is enhanced along the existing watercourse linking the site with the surrounding countryside. Through careful masterplanning we were able to demonstrate to the CABE advisors that a small site does not automatically limit the potential for creating exciting learning environments.


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