Woodlands School

Woodlands School is a 1,500 pupil secondary specialising in performing arts in Basildon, Essex.

The design creates a striking new facility with a central atrium acting as a dynamic focus to the school. The building form capitalises on the large, park-like site, its walls forming external rooms opening out on to its green fields. The building's form reflects the school's welcoming ethos, reaching out to greet students and visitors arriving from all directions.

The compact plan places a performance hub at the heart of the school. The central atrium is double height with a glazed northlight. It is linked to the Performance Hall with a large sliding stacking partition so the two spaces can be joined into one larger space.

A further commission post completion provided additional accommodation containing vocational and behaviour support facilities.


Woodlands is clothed in understated but fine materials. The balance of texture and colour has been carefully considered. Touches of timber, left to weather, and splashes of glossy bright purple both give an extra lift to the calm facades.

BIM trailblazer

Woodlands was our last school to be completed that was designed as part of the BSF programme. It was also one of our first projects to fully utilise BIM as an integrated team working process.

The use of BIM was key to the effective design and delivery of Woodlands. Communication between team members was aided by the collaborative model. It contributed to clash avoidance on site, especially between services installations and structure. Data was also embedded for use by the facilities management team to aid with the ongoing maintenance and operation of the school.

Our Team

Project Team

  • Client: Essex County Council
  • Cost planning: Gleeds
  • Structural Engineer: Skanska Technology
  • Services Engineer: Couch Perry Wilkes
  • Landscpae Architect: Katy Staton Landscape Architecture
  • Acoustician: SRL
  • Fire Engineer: Fusion Fire
  • Highways Engineer: Waterman
  • Contractor: Skanska
  • Photography: Alan Williams


  • Winner: Education Estates Award - BIM Initiative
  • Winner: British Construction Industry Awards -BIM Project Application Award
  • Winner: Heating and Ventilation News Awards - BIM Initiative of the Year
  • Finalist: Construction News Awards - BIM Initiative of the Year