Xaverian College commissions Pozzoni for Firwood redevelopment

31 August 2021

15 years on from its first assignment with the College, Pozzoni Architecture has prepared designs that will see a full refurbishment of the main Firwood Building at Xaverian College in Manchester.

Xaverian dates back to 1862 and is an Outstanding-rated Catholic Sixth Form College located in Victoria Park, Rusholme. The campus caters for approximately 2,500 members including students and staff across eight buildings located within the leafy Manchester city centre suburb.

Since 2006, Pozzoni has worked with Xaverian’s leadership team to sensitively update and adapt the estate’s original buildings, helping to ensure the College can continue delivering an exemplar further education experience while staying true to the spirit of its founders.

The latest commission sees Pozzoni deliver designs for the full refurbishment of the main Firwood Building, which previously comprised of the College’s main reception and student common room, a chapel and RE rooms, a café, catering facilities, and a learning support suite.

The redevelopment plans include relocating the kitchen and dining area in order to provide much larger and more appropriate social spaces for the pupils, with better integration into the external areas.

True to the spirit of Pozzoni’s design work, part of the refurbishment will also include restoring the Firwood Building’s façade to its original form. First designed by Manchester Town Hall Architect Alfred Waterhouse, Firwood is an ornate villa that is thought to be the only surviving building of its kind in the city. Its restoration will involve working in partnership with local planners to ensure that the proposals respect, retain and enhance the existing heritage of the building.

Catherine Mulley, Director at Pozzoni and head of the practice’s education team, said: “Xaverian College is an excellent custodian of its heritage buildings and continues to enhance and improve the campus environment for the benefit of its students and the local area.

“As a College that continues to thrive and grow, the challenge has been providing suitable learning spaces within a Conservation Area and without compromising on the social green spaces, so we have worked together to find imaginative solutions.

“This has often entailed carefully adapting how existing areas are used, which can be seen in the Firwood Building where we will be moving the kitchen and dining hall to create a new multi-purpose space and large open-plan dining area.”

Simon Channell, Vice Principal from Xaverian College said: “We are delighted to be working with Pozzoni on a landmark project at the College, which will deliver new catering facilities and social spaces for our students.”

Over the past 15 years, Pozzoni has been involved with all aspects of redevelopment, from creating new classroom settings to refurbishing large parts of the campus and creating a mixture of new social and learning spaces which maximise use of Xaverian’s attractive grounds and external areas.

The original 2006 commission for Pozzoni saw the design and construction of the College’s Mayfield Building, a 26-classroom general teaching block designed to accommodate humanities, business studies and social sciences, with modern IT facilities and staff provisions. Since then, Pozzoni has developed further designs across all of Xaverian’s main campus buildings.

Most recently, this work included the design of a new teaching block that added eight much-needed classrooms to the campus. The new facilities are enabling the College to continue its growth plans with the provision of more aspirational and inspirational learning spaces.

Talking about Pozzoni’s extensive sector experience, Catherine added: “We understand the wants and needs of education clients and the pressures that are associated with education facilities and construction work. The work we do with the Department for Education in other education subsectors means we have a good technical knowledge of the outputs and specifications required.

“Most importantly we have the skills and experience to adapt older and heritage buildings for 21st Century learning. While this is often considered more difficult and costly to accomplish, the benefit of refurbishing is worthwhile in terms of both minimising the environmental impact of a project and creating spaces with unique character.”

“We’re proud of the work we have delivered so far for Xaverian College and look forward to continuing our partnership to create new inspirational spaces for their students.”

Xaverian College is an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rated sixth form that dates back to 1862 and is located within the Victoria Park Conversation Area. Its students regularly progress on to Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities and its academic, spiritual, and pastoral achievements have earned it Beacon College status.

Work started on the next phase of Xaverian College’s redevelopment in mid-August with completion expected by late Autumn.

We are delighted to be working with Pozzoni on a landmark project at the College, which will deliver new catering facilities and social spaces for our students.

Simon Channell - Xaverian College

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