The Dyson Building will be a new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. It will be designed by Dyson’s architects Wilkinson Eyre, the first practice to achieve two consecutive wins of both the Lubetkin Prize and the Stirling Prize.
The building of a dedicated centre for STEAM subjects disrupts the established narrative that young people must choose between science and the arts at an early stage of their life. By teaching the subjects side by side, pupils will begin to see how the knowledge gained from one discipline can be used in a creative way in another. Creativity and original thinking have always been the cornerstones of a Gresham’s education; the Dyson Building will establish state-of-art facilities to see this continue into the mid 21st century.
Pupils will have the time and space to engage in creative projects and, in the process, take different approaches to problem solving; learn to work collaboratively with others; start to understand how to turn an idea into reality, and develop their decision-making skills. There is no doubt these skills will be very important throughout their lives and future careers.
The building, located at our Senior School, will incorporate outside teaching spaces which will provide flexible multi use areas that can be used as outdoor classrooms, and can also function as social spaces for quiet recreation and socialisation. The provision of these outdoor classrooms recognises that learning does not stop outside of classroom doors and aims to create a campus where people can come together to share and exchange ideas in social learning spaces.
The plan includes classes that open to an interactive and welcoming courtyard, which is not solely a circulation space. Art hubs, open stair/seating area, IT point and facilities shall turn the spine of the building into a proactive area of gathering studies. The internal configuration of the rooms has the workshops of the Art Department separate to the Science Department for sound-proofing reasons and external access matters.
This animation flythrough shows how the Dyson Building will look when it is operational.
The building has been designed to create a feeling of openness, both within the building and when you stand within the surrounding buildings and landscape. In order to do so the proposal is to use a light steel framing structure with highly insulated facade cladding and a thermal efficient glazing system.
Key to the design is sustainability
The landscape and planting design seeks to increase net biomass on campus through increasing the total number of trees, increasing the formal lawn, introducing substantial areas of green walls, green louvres and a sedum roof. Green areas and trees between the two buildings shall also implement the quality of the outdoor and indoor spaces. Tree species have been selected in accordance with advice from the project ecologist to maximise benefits for wildlife.
Solar studies are helping with optimising the ratio between clear and opaque surfaces, in order to control internal radiation both in terms of heating and natural lighting. The new building will seek to avoid conflict with the County Wildlife Site and explore opportunities to deliver new green areas and outdoor spaces to the benefit of amenity and biodiversity.