Planning has been approved for the new £15 million extension to the Cooperative Academy in Manchester. Designed by AHR, the plans propose a simple two storey extension connecting to the existing academy. This will increase the academy’s current 900 student capacity to 1500. The proposal also offers substantial facilities for the local community.
A new double height student entrance and foyer is at the heart of the design and will serve as a new reception area. All community facilities, such as the 300 seat theatre, library, art studios, gym and climbing wall are accessed directly from the foyer. The curved theatre wall, featuring a hive motif, provides a focal point within the new building.
A café will be embedded in the theatre wall, serving lunch to students and providing out of hours refreshments to visitors. It will also work as a box office for the theatre and a reception area to manage the various other facilities.
Teaching zones have been located away from the foyer to ensure separation from the noisier social spaces. Classrooms are arranged around large flexible learning zones to support a variety of pedagogies in each subject area.
The elevations contrast with the existing building with metre deep brick reveals repeating across a double height module. Ventilation has been integrated into the brick motif and tall glazing to each classroom ensures there are good levels of natural lighting for all teaching spaces.
Robert Hopkins, Regional Director at AHR said:
“The proposal demonstrates a real commitment from the trust to help address the pupil place issue in Manchester and also shows a real commitment to the arts with a stunning new theatre venue.”