With their own boardrooms and acres of glazing, the children at Foster + Partners' Corby Business Academy will feel at home when they eventually get to the Square Mile
Just opened for the new school year is Foster + Partners' new Corby Business Academy in Northamptonshire. The business and enterprise specialist school even provides business boardrooms for its 1,200 pupils' use, as well as hydrotherapy pool for the special-needs department.
The building's rectilinear format, with curtain-walled wings enclosing a central atrium, bears a close resemblance to New Labour's first city academy, Bexley Business Academy in Thamesmead, south-east London, which Foster + Partners completed in 2002.
Corby Business Academy's facade features polished black stone at either end with textured silver blockwork along the length of the building, parting to reveal several horizontal atriums with glazed roofs.
In addition to the central atrium, five atrium hubs each house one of the academy's faculties. Upper-level walkways animate the central hallway and pull together the five hubs, which are distinguished by colour-coded signs and furnishings.
The classrooms within each faculty hub have glazed walls that face into the atrium to maximise daylight while providing natural surveillance for teachers and reinforcing the concept of a subject hub with visual links between classrooms.
There is also a special provision unit in a semi-private atrium with facilities for the school's 70 disabled pupils, including the hydrotherapy pool and a landscaped garden.
Fritting on the glazed atriums reduce glare while maximising light, while angled walls at the back of the ground-floor classrooms sit below lightwells to draw daylight into the building's recesses. Other energy-saving features include wind catchers on the roof to draw fresh air into the classrooms and movement sensors that control lighting.
A separate entrance provides access to the academy's theatre and restaurant, enabling community use outside school hours. The academy's extensive sports facilities include three Sport England standard pitches for community use.
Spencer de Grey, head of design at Foster + Partners, said: “In designing Corby Business Academy we addressed the learning needs of a wide range of students and sought to create a light-filled, inspirational place in which to teach and learn.”