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Sandford Park School

O’Donnell + Tuomey have proposed an overall vision for Sandford Park School which is to create a campus atmosphere for the school community. The masterplan proposes that the existing ‘village street’ of the school extends from a new School House at its southern end (under construction) to a future new Arts Block to the east near the main entrance. Along this street a series of inter-connected spaces expand and contract, allowing the staff and students to interact with one another.

Area:
1,334m2
Address:
Sandford Road, Ranelagh
GPS:
53°19'20.7"N 6°15'00.7"W
Start Year:
End Year:
Category:

Sandford Park School, founded in 1922, is a small private non-denominational co-educational secondary school with pupils from a wide variety of backgrounds, countries and cultures, creating a unique environment within the school. The school buildings are situated on a beautifully secluded 2.5 hectares of land, with two protected structures on site.

The new School House forms part of Phase 2 of the overall masterplan, including 10 new classrooms, internal and external social spaces and a new hockey pitch. The school has an esteemed reputation particularly in the world of music and drama, and a new arts block will accommodate a small auditorium, rehearsal spaces and music rooms which will allow the school to continue to build on this reputation for many years to come. This will form part of the final phase of the masterplan in the future.

Phase 2 (ongoing) includes a new School House, removal of existing hockey pitch and the re-configuration of the existing sports playing areas to include a new hockey pitch and a smaller rugby pitch. There will be 10 classrooms, 3 meeting rooms and a social space within the new school house. New areas of brick and concrete paving with a mixture of soft landscaping will be introduced.

This new School House is a two storey brick and timber building, entered through a generous covered outdoor space which looks back down the school street. The heart of the new building is a large sociable social space with forum seating which links the two floors and looks out to the playing fields. Corridors are wide with areas for seating and lockers to enhance positive social interaction; they will be bright and lively spaces with high level windows and visible timber roof trusses.

The design reflects our interest in the architecture of Ranelagh village, and in the historic buildings on the school site. The brick walls, strongly expressed vertical timbers and grey pitched roof respond particularly to the old house. It carries aspects of the experience we have gained in the design of other schools, like Ranelagh Multidenominational School down the street and St Angela’s secondary school in Cork, both of which have proven to be very successful in use.

One of the outstanding features of the site is the sense of openness as you approach the centre of the site from Sandford Road. This has been retained as an important feature of the overall masterplan. Therefore the new hockey pitch has been located in its proposed location to ensure the requirements of the school and the sense of openness are maintained.


The new School House has been carefully positioned to form a conclusion to the street, while on the park side it completes a slightly curved line, a crescent set up by the fronts of the old house, science block and canteen. It complements the old house but does not compete with it or step forward of it. The position of this entrance space along this axis gives orientation to the building as one approaches from a distance. This is an important aspect in relation to the overall context of the new building.

The new space between the canteen and the new School House is seen as a focus for external gatherings and activities including debates and outside performances in summer. To accommodate this a set of concrete tribune steps, partly covered with a canopy, will be built opposite the new school house porch. Streetlights and seats will be provided and a canopy will be built along the park side of the canteen to provide a covered area for lunch and watching games.

In the future phase a raised square, which may be partially covered within the Arts Block, will form an external space that addresses the old house, green space and the Central Square. Wide tribune steps could lead down to the space in front of the old house, creating a place for events between the old and the new.

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