Essex County Council primary schools (1973-1993) : a design appraisal
The thesis is an appraisal of various design aspects of new and extended primary schools in Essex built between 1973 and 1993. The investigation method included a review of primary school design literature and County Council archives, interviews with Officers concerned with the design and operation of primary schools, visits to schools, analysis of user comment by questionnaire, and investigative essays. The appraisal contains three parts:- part one a review of primary education since 1973; part two strategic aspects of primary school design, including, planning, constructional systems, aesthetics, environmental design, engineering services, interior and exterior design; part three detailed requirements of today's primary school room by room; plus conclusions promulgating lessons for the future. Main conclusions of the study are :- - Economic and political pressures have reduced quality and space standards, encouraged traditional teaching methods, and reduced community use. - The County Architect and Education department's influence diminished as power was delegated to individual schools. - Limited generic plans, including the paired classbase, have developed which are a useful precedent for future design teams. - System building produced stereotype deep plan buildings, with austere architecture which failed to respect their setting or delight users. Current traditional pitched roof designs are more successful, but relatively uninspired. - Despite environmental design and engineering attempting to balance conflicting factors and reduce energy consumption by using alternative fuels and solar passive methods, users prefer locally controlled traditional heating and ventilation systems. - Interiors are high quality with a domestic ambience, whereas exteriors are poor quality with windswept wastelands without enclosure or facilities for outside teaching. - Users believe 1980s schools are too small, sufficient classbase space is a priority, and demand better quality exteriors. This thesis should provide a clear view of the clients' requirements, past precedent, and critical relationships and will help future multi-disciplinary design teams, working under difficult conditions, produce better primary schools for Essex.