A new outdoor space for the students at Alsager School in Cheshire has been created with the installment of an innovative canopy.
The £320,000 development involved the design, build and installation of a sleek new ETFE canopy to enclose what was previously an open courtyard. A lightweight steel space frame – the first of its kind supporting an ETFE membrane in the UK – was delivered by Yorkshire-headquartered Access North Build to span the quad.
The biggest challenge of the innovative project was the location and layout of the outdoor space, which was enclosed by existing buildings on all sides. Due to that, the superstructure, which is over 400 square feet in size, had to be assembled in the school car park before being carefully manoeuvred over the establishment and precisely into position on the pre-installed locating bolts.
“This type of ETFE enclosure provides an extremely beneficial space for organisations within the education sector where student wellbeing is crucial. Additionally, the new ETFE canopy has a design life of 70 years providing it is regularly maintained, but if the time comes when it is no longer required, the ETFE membrane and steel space frame are recyclable, extending the environmental-friendliness of the build with the circular economy in mind,” said Access North Group managing director, Berenice Northcott.
“We relished the challenges of this particular project. Craning a huge space frame over a school and courtyard – which was bordered on all sides – without damaging buildings or people, was a testament to the planning, organisation and attention to detail of the team. The new roof has transformed a previously under-utilised area into a light and airy multifunctional space, resulting in a positive impact on staff and pupils,” Berenice added.