Waterhead Academy

Education

Client: Oldham Council

Location: Oldham, Greater Manchester

Construction Value: £26.5m

A roof terrace, a bmx pump track and an outdoor climbing wall – just a flavor of the features we designed for the new 1,500 place Waterhead Academy in Oldham. Located on the site of a former Mill and surrounded by open space, this undersized site with challenging levels and an existing watercourse presented us with many constraints which we turned into opportunities.

Located on the site of a former Mill and surrounded by open green space, this undersized site with challenging levels and an existing watercourse presented us with many constraints which we turned into opportunities for external learning spaces.

A learning environment that draws on its setting

Amphitheatres, viewing terraces, traversing walls and social spaces with integrated seating take advantage of the level changes.

A ribbon of small learning and social spaces runs through the site. At the ‘urban’ end, a public plaza welcomes the community to the main entrance and at the ‘rural’ end, a green corridor is enhanced along the existing watercourse linking the site with the surrounding countryside.

Through careful masterplanning we were able to demonstrate to the CABE advisors that a small site does not automatically limit the potential for creating exciting learning environments.

“This is a site which is both undersized and has a challenging topography, on which OOBE has succeeded in producing a scheme which delivers more than the client ever thought possible.”

Mike Lane, Project Director at Willmott Dixon


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