Yarm School Masterplan

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Project Value:

£20 million





Large Scale Masterplanning

Conservation area

Civic Trust Award 2012

RIBA North East Award 2013


A change of plan

In 2008, we were appointed by Yarm School to develop and deliver a comprehensive masterplan for its existing site in the historic town of Yarm.

Prior to this we worked with the School looking at the strategic option of constructing a new school on the edge of Yarm as the existing school site was initially considered too complicated to redevelop. The constraints associated with potential flooding of the River Tees, existing archaeology, the existing listed buildings and the mature parkland setting as well as trying to redevelop a live school site initially appeared insurmountable.


Four year masterplan

Once the decision to redevelop the existing site was taken, a masterplanning exercise established that a phased development of the site was possible.

This complex phased project took four years and resulted in a complete overhaul for the Senior School. We ensured that by careful phasing, the school could able to remain open throughout the project.

The largest phase of the Senior school redevelopment was a Performance Arts Centre with a fan-shaped auditorium capable of seating up to 800, that is connected to a riverside academic block containing classrooms, and multi-use dance and drama group activities spaces by a double-height entrance foyer and terrace, maximising stunning views of the River Tees and the meadows beyond.


Princess Alexandra Auditorium

The focal point of the masterplan is the Princess Alexandra Auditorium within which

an acoustic moveable partition can be drawn across the proscenium to separate the forestage and auditorium from the stage area, allowing concurrent use as a fully independent studio theatre with the auditorium used for assemblies, lectures, music events, exams or dinner dances.

Due to the close proximity to the River Tees, the internal floor level of the Auditoriium is raised above flood levels and provided an opportunity for a large technical plenum to be introduced under the auditorium supplying fresh air towards the seating areas. The dramatic roof is formed with clear span 40m long curved steel trusses and clad in a combination of faceted roof windows and zinc standing seam cladding for the roof.

The completed masterplan, which won a RIBA award in 2013 is a far cry from its starting point with its temporary buildings and ad hoc site layout.