This new City Academy replaces the failing Ramsgate School. The architects were asked to come up with a building that was modern, functional and would improve exam marks too – a tough brief.
They have responded with an indoor village, where the resident community can see itself in action, whether it be in the theatre, in the classrooms or in the dramatic assembly area. This vast toplit arena with its timber gridshell roof is a grand, almost operatic, space which enables the whole school to participate in assemblies or large performance activities.
The traditional corridor, with its associated problems of congestion and inefficiency, has been replaced by a series of lively spaces with real social and educational potential. Bullying has no-where to hide. It is the heart of a truly public building: the school library is the local public library, the sports facilities are available to hire, and local groups use the theatre regularly.
At a time when massive resources are being directed towards the rebuilding of Britain’s educational infrastructure, Marlowe Academy offers an ambitious re-definition of what a large new school can look and feel like.