Ford Gilpin Riley Architects
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6th Form Department, Exeter

Client: The Maynard School
Area: 280 m²
Stage: Completed in July 2005
Building costs: £350k
Description: Classroom and IT Facilities


The Maynard School is one of the leading independent girl’s schools in the region. The 6th form department provides a transition between “school” and “higher” education and as such, it needs a degree of independence and distinctive from the remainder of the school. The existing 6th form accommodation at The Maynard School was constructed in the 1970’s, in the form of a rather sombre building, and had reached the point where it was beginning to become outdated. The project aimed at radically improving the standard and ambience of the department through the provision of a 2 storey extension between Ryan House and the former gymnasium.

The new accommodation comprised a fully I.T. equipped student study area, 2 dedicated 6th form classrooms, a head of department’s office and tutorial rooms. The scheme also included a thorough refurbishment and update of the current accommodation. With the encouragement of the client body, we sought to produce a bright contemporary design which, it was considered, would appeal to its prospective student users. The long, narrow footprint of the infill building, which would be enclosed on both sides by existing structures, posed a considerable problem when it came to providing sufficient natural light. This was overcome by the use of a “butterfly” roof profile, which created a clerestorey strip, which brought daylight to the entire length of the new structure.

The brief opportunities for outlook from the new spaces were maximised by providing a fully-glazed eastern elevation which looked out across the school’s rose garden. This gave the new building a crisp, modern appearance, which set it apart from any of the other structures within the school campus. The new centre has been very well received and, as a result, 6th form student numbers are strong at the school despite the existence of number of local further education colleges.

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