Ford Gilpin Riley Architects
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Popham Centre, Tiverton

Client: Blundell’s School
Area: 900 m²
Stage: Completed in August 2007
Building costs: £1.3m
Description: New IT and Business School


The Popham Centre is a multi-use academic building on a key site on the northern part of the School campus. It houses the Economics, Business Studies and Information Technology Departments. There are also 2 new Art classrooms and extra space for Design and Technology including a display area for pupils’ work. The Economics and Business Studies Dept. comprises four classrooms and a lecture theatre. The I.T. facilities include a dedicated teaching suite, with “xmas tree” layout, the school I.T. server and accommodation for I.T. Technicians and the Head of Dept.

The new Art rooms are both “north-lit” spaces and are supported by a fully equipped printing / preparation room. The main entrance foyer and interior street form naturally lit display spaces. The new building is linked to the existing Art and D.T. Departments and bringing the Economics & Business School into the complex has made the superb I.T. facilities available to those who benefit most from their use. The new building has a clean and contemporary, informal appearance which does not compete with its neighbours. The design uses the roof profile as a consistent theme. The use of crisp white rendered walls accentuates the texture and solidity of the adjacent brick and stone buildings, whilst the sharp ribbed metal roof and use of patent glazing underline a modernity which reflects the building’s progressive uses.

The interior of the building contains a series of interesting naturally lit spaces, used as circulation and display areas. These full height spaces also have the practical purpose of providing natural stack-effect ventilation to the whole complex. The ambience of the building is bright, upbeat and optimistic.

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