Shortlisted for Public Building Project of the Year: Sandal Magna is a school that teaches from within – and without

Sandal Magna Community School, Wakefield submitted by Sarah Wrigglesworth Architects

Sandal Magna is a charismatic addition to a quiet suburb of Wakefield that manages to reconcile robustly contemporary architecture with the Victorian residential fabric and industrial heritage that surrounds it. It is also a building that embraces the term “practice what you preach” with an infectious enthusiasm. The physical fabric of the building itself is configured as a tool that teaches the pupils about both construction and sustainability. Consequently, “secret” wall openings reveal transparent internal rainwater harvesting pipes, an external wall is clad in corrugated polycarbonate sheeting to reveal the blue wool insulation submerged behind it and, throughout, opportunities are taken to expose sprinkler systems, sound-proofing, pipe-work and materials. The result is a poetic exercise in architectural vivisection, a building with its intestines out on full display in a forthright physical embodiment of the ethos of education.

Project team

Architect: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Structural engineer; Techniker;
M&E consultant: Max Fordham;
QS: Max Fordham
Planning supervisor: NPS North East;
Main contractor: Allenbuild North East;
Client: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, NPS North East.

Each day in the lead up to the Building Awards ceremony next month, we will profile one of the finalists in the Project of the Year and Public Building Project of the Year. The winners will be announced as the Building Awards ceremony taking place on April 7. To book a table at the Building Awards visit the web site here.