Trinity Sixth Form Centre

Client: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

The new Trinity Sixth Form Academy, housed in a former library building is an excellent example of how existing buildings can be revitalised to help regenerate town centres. Located in the heart of Halifax, West Yorkshire, Trinity Sixth Form Academy is the first phase of a regeneration project to redevelop the vacant Northgate House complex which was previously home to Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council’s offices and the public library. The complex has been vacant since 2017 when the council relocated their offices and the library service moved into a bespoke new facility designed by LDN.

Earmarked for demolition as a ‘problem site’ after potential redevelopment proposals for a retail centre fell through, Calderdale Council instead embraced the radical idea to redevelop the building and house a Sixth Form Academy in the town centre, rather than on an out-of-town green-field campus. LDN Architects was engaged as architect and lead consultant to develop proposals for reimagining Northgate House as an active mixed-use development and learning facility which could enliven and contribute to the town centre’s public life and economy.

The Sixth Form Academy provides state-of-the-art learning facilities for 600 students within the former library block. The facades have undergone substantial works to open up the original defensive and windowless facades, introducing new windows to bring in natural light and ventilation to the teaching spaces. The new solar-control glass and pigmented zinc cladding, alongside cleaned and restored stone cladding, provide street presence and identity for the academy and activate the street frontage at pavement level. Internally, the building was stripped back to the concrete frame and a new full-height atrium formed, with acoustically-lined, slatted oak balustrades to bring light and natural ventilation to the centre of the plan and create a central ‘university-style’ study hub.

 The design is the result of close collaboration between LDN, Calderdale Council and Trinity Academy to produce an exciting and modern learning environment for students in line with the Council's transformational vision for a revitalised town centre. The main interior spaces are designed to provide a contemporary 'university' or 'office' style environment for students to support the college's role as a stepping stone between school and further education or employment. The interiors take advantage of the existing building’s interiors by exposing the existing concrete soffits to provide loftier ceiling heights. The spaces are softened with suspended acoustic rafts, low-energy LED feature lighting and carefully selected study furniture.

 The design promotes natural daylight and natural ventilation to provide a healthy and energy-efficient learning environment. Where it was not possible to naturally ventilate some areas, such as in a former document archive area in the basement, the design takes advantage of this by converting it to a 'black box' drama and dance space and a multi-purpose hall for performances and events.

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