Recently a tweet by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) caught my eyes:
“Chandler’s Ford Infant School Project – April Rapley. Shortlisted for Student our Excellence in AT Award.”
Congratulations to April Rapley, Architectural Design and Technology graduate from Southampton Solent University! Her re-design of Chandler’s Ford Infant School on Kings Road has been shortlisted for the Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology (Project) 2017.
— CIAT (@CIATechnologist) September 11, 2017
Winners will be announced and presented on 15 September 2017 at CIAT’s Architectural Technology Awards event held at the Village Underground, Shoreditch, London. The event will recognise and celebrate the exceptional work and skills of those studying Architectural Technology.
April Rapley’s project is a re-design of Chandler’s Ford Infant School. The new design is suitable for use by up to 100 students per year group (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) including ten special educational needs places within each year group.
I contacted April to find out more about this exciting news.
Question: Could you tell us something about you? Are you from Chandler’s Ford? Did you go to Chandler’s Ford Infant School? What do you like best about the Infant school, and Chandler’s Ford in general?
I grew up in Chandler’s Ford and attended Chandler’s Ford Infant School in 2002-2003 for Year 2 of school. I then went on to attend Merdon Junior School and Thornden School. I think Chandler’s Ford is a great place for children to grow up, the schools in the area are excellent and there is a real sense of community with multiple generations living in the area.
Question: What inspired you to work on this project about Chandler’s Ford Infant School? How did the school work with you regarding your design? Is the Infant school going to be re-designed?
As I attended the school for Year 2, it is where I remember my education beginning; it is because of this I decided to make it the topic of my final year project at university. I did not receive much contact from the school but was able to find accurate information from other sources. As far as I am aware, there are no current plans for the school to be re-designed; however, I believed that the brief I created related to a real scenario of the school capacity being increased as the population in the area is growing.
Question: CIAT 2017 Architectural Technology Student Award is such a great award – how do you feel about your work being shortlisted? I’m sure you have worked very hard to achieve this.
I received an award presented by CIAT at Solent University’s end of year show. This is when my tutor made sure I had submitted my project for the award. I was over the moon to receive the award within the university so when I had the email confirming I had been shortlisted for the nationwide award I could not believe it. It’s an incredible honour to be part of this award and I really feel my hard work over the past three years of university has paid off in such a massive way. I graduated with First Class Honors in Architectural Technology so this award is the icing on top of the cake.
Question: What led you to study Architectural Design and Technology with Southampton Solent? What is this about, and what are you planning to do next?
I was fortunate enough to know what job I wanted from a young age. I knew I wanted to do something to do with building design, but it wasn’t until I was applying to university I discovered Architectural Technology. It is far more than just designing buildings, as the designs have to take into account the buildability and functionality. For me, this seemed like a perfect suit and I am so glad I chose this course. I start my postgraduate degree in Sustainable Building Design in September.
Question: About your design: Could you tell us in greater details about the features of your design? I love the library, and the outdoor area very much. The images are astounding.
The design inspiration for this project came from a family friend telling me about the difficulty she is having find a Special Educational Needs place for her autistic son in an infant school. I decided I wanted to look into how suiting the school for Special Educational Needs changes the design. I chose not to design the entire school for special educational needs children, as one of the reasons for the re-design was to increase the capacity of the school due to the increased population in the area.
In addition to designing for Special Educational Needs children, I wanted to research into ways to make the building sustainable and find ways that the school can teach the pupils about the environment and sustainability using the building and surrounding site. The site makes use of multiple outdoor teaching areas incorporating the natural environment into these areas to help teach the children about the environment.
Privacy is important within the site as well so the placement of elements within the site where chosen to give maximum privacy whilst still giving the children space to run around and play.
As the school is aimed at children aged 4-7, it was a key aspect of the design to make the features of the school fun and interesting. This included making a key feature of the library, making it a fun place that the children will want to be in.
Question: Do you have any advice to young people in our community? (A Level and GCSE results just came out a few weeks ago, and your advice could help our young people a lot.)
I think it is key that anyone deciding on either A-Level or degree subjects chooses something they are passionate about. The amount of hours you have to put in when studying at these levels is made easier if you enjoy the subjects. It’s a lot of work but if you enjoy it, it doesn’t seem so bad.
Many thanks for April in sharing her magnificent project with us. Many people (their children and grandchildren) in Chandler’s Ford went to Chandler’s Ford Infant school, and this re-design of the school is certainly very fascinating to many of us to see.
Thank you April for your words of encouragement to our young people, who will find your enthusiasm and passion for learning inspiring.
Good luck to you, April, and we wish you all the very best for the future.
Southampton Solent University: Students shortlisted for Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists award
CIAT | April Rapley for Chandler’s Ford Infant School
CIAT | Architectural Technology Student Awards 2017 shortlist announced
Update： 15th September 2017
— CIAT (@CIATechnologist) September 15, 2017
— Sarah Radif (@SarahRadif) September 16, 2017