When I was Chair of Governors at a wave 1 BSF school, we had many discussions with wave after wave of architects & consultants. It became clear that the 'brief' from the client (ie the LA & DFES as it was then) was that the building "had to have impact, make a statement, demonstrate to parents & visitors how wonderful the new school looked". The architects were very keen on this aspect of the design as they saw it as an opportunity to make their mark and possibly gain some industry award for their design capabilities.
There was little direction provided for things like usability, fit for purpose, sustainability etc. Form was to take priority over function.
Being 'green' was ok too as long as it was not too expensive. (hence the reason the rainwater capture idea for use in toilets etc was soon abandoned).
I remember during discussions with the architects that the concept of a 'shed' like building was floated by the school, with internally reconfigurable walls & partitions to increase/reduce teaching space size as the curriculum needs changed. The architects were very dismissive, saying nobody ever got an award for designing a shed!
In the future, people will be able to look at secondary school buildings & identify which were BSF schools by their style, their lofty atria, and their miserable working environment. Also,they will be falling to bits after 25 years, as that is how long they will be built to last for under PFI.
Oh my! People designing non opening windowed glass walled buildings.... I bet these people that design them never have to work them in when the air con breaks down.
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