Architecture to change lives

Architecture to change lives

Gateshead-based architecture practise Gradon Architecture has been awarded for work carried out on the new £3m Percey Hedley residential school in Killingworth, North Tyneside, and has gone on to design the £2m second phase of developments.

The firm, located in Ryton, has scooped two industry awards- the Constructing Excellence in the North East Value award as well as the LABC Award for Best Inclusive Design- for its work on the hydrotherapy pool and 26 bed children’s home.

Following on from this success, the practice has gone on to design the £2m second phase of developments at the specialist learning facility for children with complex needs.

Work on phase two is already underway, extending the existing Killingworth site to create a larger, multi-use campus with additional teaching capacity.

The school provides invaluable learning facilities to more than 1,000 disabled children and adults, and the second phase of development will allow attendees to progress through lower and upper school while remaining on the site, improving their educational journey.

Graham McDarby, design director of Gradon Architecture, said: "With phase one of the Percy Hedley Foundation development now complete and in use, we’re delighted to be working on the project throughout the next stage of the campus development.

"Throughout both phases we have worked hard to ensure that the school’s users are at the core of our designs. The youngsters have complex needs and we want to create a bespoke environment that is both practical and stimulating for all."

The work, which is due for completion in autumn this year, includes 12 additional classrooms, a suite of speech and language rooms as well as outdoor play areas and landscaping. The work will also update the look of existing buildings to bring unity throughout the site.

Carole Harder, Chief Executive at The Percy Hedley Foundation, said: "This fantastic new facility will allow Percy Hedley School to grow, increasing numbers from 130 to 200 places, so we can provide education and support to many more disabled children and their families.

"It is the final part in the development of a unique education campus providing access to education, residential and a state of the art hydrotherapy pool on one site. We would encourage families to get in contact if they are interested in a place in the school, with the additional space expected to open by January 2017."

Building on the success of the Percy Hedley project, Gradon Architecture has a number of similar projects in the early stages of development with other North East based charities, including specialist residential developments in both County Durham and Teesside.

Graham added: "It’s important that architecture improves people’s lives through design, allowing people to live well and enabling them to achieve and this is why projects such as these are so rewarding.

"It is hugely satisfying to know our designs will help families from across the region by improving the facilities available to them and making a valuable difference to day-to-day life."