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April 2021 Back to news

A topping out ceremony has been held for the Dyson Building

A topping out ceremony has been held for the much anticipated Dyson Building. Due to open in September 2021, the new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education was made possible by a generous donation from Old Greshamian, Sir James Dyson who attended the school from 1956 to 1965.

The topping out ceremony, which took place on the rooftop of the Dyson Building, is traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction. To mark this milestone, Michael Goff, Chairman of Governors, ceremoniously poured a beer over the roof and made a short speech to the assembled group which included representatives from Gresham’s, the main contractor Kier, architects Wilkinson Eyre and the Daniel Connal Partnership.

Dennis Cotton, Operations Director at Kier, said, “Kier is proud to be delivering, in collaboration with Gresham’s, a building that will enhance pupils’ learning for generations to come.”

A state-of-the-art structure at the heart of our school, the Dyson Building spans 4000m² of space and will create a contemporary arts and science teaching facility incorporating classrooms, laboratories, workshops and flexible use open plan common areas. The striking, open, light steel structure has been designed to blend sympathetically with the surrounding buildings. With exposed structure and services, a principle behind the design is for pupils to be able to see how the building functions rather than concealing its workings behind ceilings and linings.

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 these subjects side by side, pupils will begin to see how 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-the-art facilities to see this continue into the mid 21st century.

Douglas Robb, Headmaster, said, “As Sir James himself would say engineers are people who look at problems and find solutions. We believe it’s important that young people are given the opportunity to get hands on with real projects, learn through trial and error and find solutions. Sir James’ generosity has allowed us to build a space where problem solving is at the heart of our educational thinking. The Dyson Building will act as catalyst to encourage young people to think laterally, work collaboratively and ultimately learn from their failures.”

Working closely with the James Dyson Foundation, we hope the building will become a hub for STEAM education in Norfolk.

Find out more about the Dyson Building here www.greshams.com/dysonbuilding

Photo credit: Kier