A previously reviled brutalist eyesore in Northampton has been transformed by Architecture Initiative into a light-filled, airy and dynamic academy school
When contemplating the term “brutalist concrete eyesore”, very few buildings fitted the bill as well as Northampton’s former Royal Mail Sorting Office. Officially opened by Northamptonshire’s own Princess Diana at one of her first public engagements after her 1981 wedding, the hulking brick and concrete monolith on the edge of Northampton city centre spent just 22 years as a largely unloved local landmark before promptly closing for good after a fire in 2003. Subsequent plans to convert it into a supermarket came to nothing and over the ensuing decade the abandoned building enshrined its eyesore status by falling into an advanced state of dereliction and becoming home to an indeterminate number of squatters, trespassers and pigeon carcasses.
But today the building has undergone an astonishing transformation. London-based practice Architecture Initiative has now fully refurbished and converted the building into the Northampton International Academy, a vast 2,200 pupil place academy school catering from reception age to sixth form. In response to sharply rising local demand for school places, the school can accommodate 420 primary pupils, 1,500 secondary pupils and 300 sixth formers.
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