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Glazing systems by Kawneer feature on the new Essa Academy in Bolton.

Curtain walling, windows and doors by leading architectural aluminium systems supplier Kawneer feature on a unique learning environment.

Kawneer's AA®100 zone/mullion drained curtain walling with 50mm sightlines, AA®541 casement windows and series 190 heavy-duty commercial entrance doors were installed by specialist sub-contractor Extruded Window Systems for main contractor Kier Construction throughout the £14million Essa Academy in Bolton.

Procured through the academies framework, the new establishment relocates students from existing premises on the same site. 

The 8,303m² academy provides a unique 900-place learning environment for 11 to 16-year-olds, combining as it does a business-like environment specialising in science, the performing arts, sport and IT with a calm and inclusive atmosphere.

Central to its design by architects Sheppard Robson is the International Business and Enterprise Centre (IBEC) - an interactive facility and official Apple Learning Centre, with students using cutting-edge ICT including their own individual iPod touches.

Deliberately placed in the most conspicuous location - floating above the reception and main entrance - the IBEC is fully glazed with Kawneer's curtain walling to the elevations and interspersed with brightly coloured aluminium fins so that activities and events inside can be seen on the approach.

The design concept for the site as a whole is based around a processional route from the site entrance to the building entrance that prepares students for the day of learning. The two and three-storey building is arranged to form a welcoming, civic entrance and encloses a partially covered courtyard.

Sponsored by the Essa Foundation and Bolton Council, the academy was the first of an expected three new academies in the borough.

Essa principal Showkat Badat said: “This fantastic building has improved well-being, increased community pride and fostered a happy, calm and business-like atmosphere. This is a building that takes innovation rhetoric into delivered reality.”

Sheppard Robson's design director Rupert Goddard added: “The academy transforms the image of education locally and provides highly flexible learning spaces.”


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