The Lee Centre, Ralph Allen School

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Location: Bath, UK

Client: Ralph Allen School

Project Year: 2013

Cost: £500k - £2m

The Lee Centre is the first major element of a broader school masterplan and forms a new cornerstone to the Ralph Allen School campus. The two-storey Applied Learning Centre focuses on science – the foundation school’s specialist subject – comprising four classrooms, arranged in adjoining pairs around a double height breakout space for independent learning. It is designed as a porous building in the round, with teaching spaces leading out onto the learning landscape. The series of open, flexible spaces are designed around more of a university-style of independent learning than the traditional school model.

Constructed in cross-laminated timber, the building is partly embedded in the landscape, accessed by ramps leading up to the first floor gallery level. A hung larch façade marches across the elevations with a strong vertical rhythm, giving way to dark-stained timber at the lower level, which are also used elsewhere to express deep cuts in the building envelope. The project employs an earthy palette of materials, including polished limecrete floors, using limestone excavated from the site, as well as rammed earth.

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Landscaped upper entrance to the building

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Side elevation with roof cowl for natural ventilation above

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Rammed earth interior wall