As the first built realisation of a larger masterplan for the Smallford campus of Oaklands College in St Albans, the Discovery Centre presents a suite of sculptural ideas that sit within an agrarian landscape. Two conjoined dark timber-clad rectilinear volumes are placed atop a masonry wall which rises and falls to signal entrances, define new and existing landscape spaces and form a heart to the Smallford campus. The two-storey, atrium-centred block accommodates almost 6,000 square metres of new teaching spaces for Art, Fashion and Design, Entry Level programmes for Learners with Learning Difficulties and general teaching facilities. The accompanying new sports facilities include new grass and synthetic turf pitches across the road as well as the triple-height sports hall which anchors the west of the scheme. The horizontality of the blocks’ façades is interrupted by generously-sized windows and brightly-coloured ventilation panels which look out onto and reference the surrounding green belt landscape.

  • 2013 RIBA London Region Award
St Albans, UK
Oaklands College
Structural Engineer
Elliott Wood
Services and Mechanical Engineer
Atelier 10
Cost Consultants
Equals Consulting
Planning Consultants
VRG Planning
Landscape Architects
Whitelaw and Turkington
Ecology Consultants
Land Use Consultants
Arboricultural Consultants
Transport and CDMC
Acoustic Engineers
Sandy Brown Associates