Wilson McMullen Architects, Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine, County Antrim

Phoenix Integrated Primary School, Cookstown



This was an Ideas competition to create a vision for the redevelopment of a new school for Phoenix Integrated Primary School in Cookstown. Wilson McMullen Architects competed against many well known large practices throughout Northern Ireland and the UK and were delighted to win the competition in June 2011. We will continue to support Phoenix School in their fundraising for this new school.

The concept for the new school is to create an accessible and intimate building that engages with its context, environment, local community and most importantly, the children and staff. It should be an invigorating and exciting place to go to school.

The buildings form is generated by the topography of the site. Its plan nestles into the hillside following the contour lines of the site creating an organic and free-flowing form.

To the North, the building will be sunken into the landscape helping it to sympathetically integrate with the site and sheltering it from heat and energy loss. To the South the building will open up and engage with the outside spaces which surround the building, maximising solar gain.

The building itself is composed of 3 elements; the communal community based element, the “Heart of the school” and the class bases. These elements are arranged carefully to ensure that the building can be used securely by the staff and children while still affording the local community the opportunity to utilise and access the communal spaces, which are located at the front of the building.

It is hoped that the school building will create a sense of place and give Phoenix Integrated Primary school a clear and approachable identity within its community and within Northern Ireland.