Ashfield Girls High School is a popular 700 pupil secondary school catering for its local community in East Belfast.
The school had been in need of major redevelopment for some years and was identified as one of the first projects to proceed under the Belfast Schools Partnership, established in 2008 between the local education board and private sector partner Amey FMP.
Largely through the vision and drive of headmistress Adeline Dinsmore the school achieved specialist status in the field of Information Technology and wanted to explore therefore how this might inform the architecture of the new school.
The design response is based around a central street, with teaching accommodation accessed directly off it over three levels. The street is utilised for a broad range of uses, including as meeting / learning space, complete with cyberium and large IT wall, acknowledging the importance of in between spaces play in new educational environments.
The school was opened on programme and with zero defects in September 2009.
The scheme received plaudits from architects and educationalists alike, being identified as having set a new standard for secondary school education in Northern Ireland.
Amey Ventures / H&J Martin
Holywood Road, Belfast
Architect / Lead Consultant
PFI (under Strategic Partnership)