Alphabet Schools

Re-thinking school building for the class of 2020 for a Symposium held at the RIBA on 13 July 2011

After decades of unprecedented investment, the school building programme still faces an uncertain future. A planned reduction in school capital investment forces a re-think of how new schools are procured, designed and delivered. But with dwindling budgets and with many schools still in desperate need of repair, how can we deliver good school buildings on a much tighter budget? What role will standardisation play? And how can we make the best of the buildings that already exist?

To begin to answer some of these questions, the RIBA brought together leading figures from construction, design, education and Government for a stimulating discussion into the future delivery and design of schools.

Alongside presentations from representatives of Government, SCABAL and other members of the RIBA Schools Client Forum, chaired by Sunand Prasad, presented a series of real-life scenarios designed to address some of the likely challenges ahead and work towards practical solutions for the future.

Our School Brick System, initially presented at this event and developed since, overcomes the narrowing of the market implied by standardisation and the consequent reduction in value that inevitably ensues. Rather than focusing on limited construction materials or prescribed procurement approaches, our School Brick System exploits a much wider gene pool of opportunities. It’s an idea to promote pret-a-porter design from standardised component parts, each given a letter from the alphabet, to be assembled where it works best and complemented with elements of bespoke design where it’s possible, most desirable and most valuable.

Service: Creative Discipline

Location: UK

Client: School children

Cost: £tbc

Dates: 1999

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