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Bedford Free School

ECE have delivered a new rooftop extension for Bedford Free School.  The project includes a multipurpose hall, activity studio, changing rooms and offices within a roof top extension to the existing secondary school.

The designation of the locality as a “key area of change” in Bedford’s Town Centre Area Action Plan inspired the design direction. The new school extension is in the vicinity of listed St Mary’s Church and the proposals received full support of Heritage England.  In addition the school was been very positive throughout the planning application and are delighted with the completed scheme.

Mark Lehain, Bedford Free School Principal comments:

“ECE Architecture worked closely with the school at all times to produce an imaginative and striking design solution to an apparently intractable problem. Together we overcame a range of challenges with the planning application, not least converting Historic England to full support the strikingly different proposal, which has now been delivered.

The school has benefitted much from its new prominence in Bedford town centre provided by our new rooftop extension. Operationally we are now able to use our new school hall, multi-purpose studio and changing rooms to great effect, transforming teaching and learning within the school.

Nick Evans and his team at ECE Architecture had a highly collaborative approach with the school at each of the project stages and were available at all times to support  us on this intricate  construction exercise.

We are all absolutely delighted with the result. Thank you”.

External cladding using aluminium mesh to wrap around the whole building was carefully considered as a material, designed in parallel with openings to play on the transparency and weight of the composition, making the most of the views from a marvellous vantage point over Bedford.