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Woodland wonder wins architecture awards

Woodland wonder wins architecture awards

June 8, 2018

A secondary school for boys and girls with moderate to severe learning difficulties has won two awards from the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA).

Pupils enjoying one of the new classrooms
Pupils enjoying one of the new classrooms

Belvue School, a secondary school for boys and girls aged between 11 and 19 with a range of educational needs, has created a unique and magical classroom in the heart of the woodland area at the back of the school – which has won two national architectural awards.

The school and the building designers, StudioWeave, wanted to create a building that would open up the imagination of the children in how to engage with the natural woodland area.

All of the classrooms in the building are used to teach the pupils and provide two types of much-needed learning spaces for the school: A calm, informal teaching space; and a separate space for a student-run school café.

The building connects nicely to the woodland area at the back of the school

The woodland area at the back of the school was recently granted to Belvue School as it was disused and it is now being used for bush craft activities and includes a fire pit.

Belvue’s new building was one of 61 developments to be awarded a regional award from RIBA and an a special award as RIBA’s client of the year.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, the council’s portfolio holder for schools and children’s service, said: “I am delighted that Belvue school has won this award for this outstanding new building. It not only puts the school on the map for its amazing design, but is also an amazing space to teach children and young adults.”

Shelagh O’Shea, headteacher at Belvue School said: “We wanted to create a special haven for our young people to learn in. We wanted to build a space that connected our playground to our newly required woodland.

“For a lot of children they do not have an opportunity to be in a building and an outside environment like this, it really is very unique.”

The funding for the new building came from local fundraising, charitable donations, and the Mayor of London grant.