Ysgol Bae Baglan

Stride Treglown, Port Talbot, 2016


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Construction cost £38.5 million  

James Morris     Download Original

  • Construction cost £38.5 million     
  • The outdoor pitches    
  • View of the cladding    
  • A challenging aspect of the design was the modelling of the complex compound curve roof canopy    
  • Ysgol Bae Baglan’s structure comprises a hot rolled steel frame with a structural framing system between columns to form the façades    
  • Classrooms benefit from natural ventilation    
  • Inside one of the primary school spaces    
  • One of the classrooms    
  • The auditorium    
  • The gym    
  • Site layout and location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground, first and second floor plans    
  • Section AA    
  • Short sectional elevations    
  • Long sectional elevations    
  • Axonometric plan views    
  • Typical external wall section through classroom areas detail    
  • Typical details    

Stride Treglown’s Ysgol Bae Baglan is a school that caters for all stages from nursery to sixth form.

Ysgol Bae Baglan is roughly an ‘H’ in plan, with the tip of each arm bent inwards and one removed to create a main axis of approach with planting and seating. At the centre, the two halves are linked at what is also the highest point towards which either end sweeps up. On such a flat, windswept site the aim of these two curved wings is to wrap around and shield a courtyard space to the east. 

The circulation spaces are vast; corridors are wide and ceilings are high, aiding the staff in the daunting task of supervision, but also drawing in light through clerestory windows that can then pass into the classrooms. Just as externally the gentle curve helps break up the volume, the kink in these corridors helps to prevent them becoming too cavernous, and provides a natural separation of different teaching areas, demarcated by different colours.

The central, flexible ‘heart’ space is a rectangular hall that cuts across the main entrance axis, it is bookended by sets of retractable raked seating, with large movable screens across the centre that can be drawn completely across to create two spaces.

Ysgol Bae Baglan’s structure comprises a hot rolled steel frame with a structural framing system between columns to form the façades. The engineering solution was designed to suit the striking architectural concept, the tight site programme and the challenging ground conditions.

Investigative boreholes to about 30m through soft sands and silts failed to find bedrock. Rather than accept the general view that piling would need to be adopted for the foundations and risk extensive additional borehole testing in unproven ground, the engineer used an innovative form of modified dynamic compaction to improve the ground to a point where continuous spread footings could be used. This would avoid the risk of providing a pathway for contaminants from the groundwater to the lower-level aquifer and significantly reduce the cost and programme implications of piling. The grid spacing for the main columns was reduced to 3.6m to facilitate the use of spread foundations.

The classroom wings have tapered bidirectional roofs that fall away from the central lantern, with clerestory windows that provide daylight and natural ventilation to classrooms and central circulation spaces. Each of these standing-seam roofs was laid to fall into hidden gutters to maintain a sleek appearance.

A transpired solar collector was incorporated into the feature wall of the main sports hall. This sustainable measure increased the overall depth of wall construction. It is essentially an additional wall to the weathering wall, with a minimum of a 200mm cavity behind a perforated cladding system. Warmed air is extracted from the cavity at high level and passes through a heat exchanger prior to being pumped into the sports hall.  


  • Begun: Jan 2015
  • Completed: Aug 2016
  • Floor area: 14,587m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £35M
  • Procurement: NEC Design Build – Option A (single stage tender)
  • Address: Seaway Parade, Port Talbot, SA12 7BL, United Kingdom

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