Didsbury High School – Projects

Didsbury High School

Client: Laurus Trust
Sector: Education
Size: 1,350 places / secondary and sixth-form entry
Value: £20 million
Location: Manchester
Status: Complete
Internal Team: Catherine Mulley
Stuart Goodwin
Tania Croghan

This new four-storey building for 1,350 pupils includes a sports hall and fitness suite, a three-court multi-use games area, teaching spaces, a performance hall, a learning resource centre and a special educational needs facility.

The site has a number of issues which influenced the design. It is located at a prominent ‘gateway’ site into Manchester, is very constrained for a school of this size and is affected by noise from a busy road. The solution was a four-storey, highly efficient ‘super-block’ that includes a number of external terraces for recreation and sporting activities.

‘The Hive’ is an internal space that provides access to the main school hall and visual links to other key areas within the school. It also acts as a light-well and a circulation space. The social core of the Hive is the dining hall, which has internal windows that act as a wayfinding tools to other areas.

The brief had significant environmental, educational and financial challenges - Pozzoni has faced each of these head on with great creativity. They have developed a fabulous design which meets the needs of all stakeholders.

David Woolley - Laurus Trust