Dyson STEAM Building, Gresham's School

Norfolk, UK

The Dyson STEAM Building is a new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics education at Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk. Located at the heart of the Senior School site, the new building develops and refines the evolving typology of STEAM buildings. The contemporary cross-disciplinary hub will allow art and science to be taught side-by-side so pupils can explore, discover, and flourish with creativity, and see how the knowledge gained from one discipline can be used in a creative way in another.

The architecture of the new STEAM building follows a modern aesthetic using industrial components mixed with integral landscaping and low energy systems. The two-storey exposed steel frame is clad with a mixture of large glass panels and oxidised copper panels. Some of the panels are set back to accommodate landscaped open areas which can be used for outside teaching, while integrated planting blurs the boundaries between the outside and in. The distinctly modern building is sympathetic to its historic context: the scale of the building mirrors that of the school chapel, built in 1916 and situated on the opposite side of the lawn, while the patterns in the oxidised copper panels mirror the decorative flint details on the chapel elevation.

Student and staff wellbeing was at the forefront of the design with the aim of creating a positive, vibrant space that encourages learning while inspiring its students. Internally, teaching spaces are generous and filled with light and includes classrooms, laboratories, workshops, an auditorium, and open-plan common spaces able to host a variety of teaching and learning uses. An inviting and interactive internal courtyard, that doubles up as circulation, features an arts hub, seating area, and IT point and facilities, further reinforcing the integration of art, design, and science.

“At WilkinsonEyre, we constantly draw inspiration from both art and science, so it’s been a privilege to work on scheme that will provide contemporary teaching spaces for the investigation of the sciences and the arts simultaneously that will enhance critical thinking and promote innovation. The building itself – through the clarity and honesty of design and construction - becomes a teaching tool in its own right.” 

Yasmin Al-Ani Spence, Project Director