In the spring of 2018 Nick Baker Architects were invited by Verney Capital to take part in an international architectural competition for the design of a 3,500sqm STEM Centre building at Haileybury School, Astana.
NBA’s winning design was selected in the summer of 2018 and the $10m project is targeted to be on site in the summer of 2019.
This successful project was the culmination of NBA’s experience in educational schemes and masterplanning of schools throughout the UK and Germany over the last 15 years.
The design for the STEM Centre at Haileybury Astana was focused on providing a unique building within a demanding set of educational and environmental criteria.
The intention was to create a building that bridged the worlds of secondary and tertiary education. Whilst containing the standard science subjects, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, additional accommodation provides for a robotics lab, a ‘futurelab’, and a large auditorium and exhibition space. The maths department is interspersed throughout as the connecting educational discipline. The additional facilities are aimed at providing a resource for external university lecturers to present to the school and view and connect with its talented students. As a separate building the STEM centre also provides the capacity to be used independently by local universities for conferences and seminars.
The buildings identity has a scientific origin as the double helix for DNA was the basis for the structural solution. The extruded elliptical form creates a singular spanned structure with the opportunity to create a variety of flexible spaces throughout its length. The two storey structure’s length acts as a street on which clusters of classes are based. A selection of double height breakout and entrance areas provide a varied and innovative set of spaces on the street that ensure a dynamic identity to the building’s interior.
The thermal range in Astana is significant. Temperatures range from -30 to +40 degrees centigrade. Initially this dramatic divergence would appear as a major limit to sustainable features. However, working with DSA Engineering a solution of providing two large underground water storage facilities and landscape lake feature in which hot summer water and cold winter water are effectively stored and pumped through the building’s skin during the opposite thermal season aims to make innovative use of the inherent environmental conditions.
The resulting STEM centre provides a dynamic image and environment for 21stcentury education.
NBA have worked with the Haileybury Schools Group for a number of years with projects including a new Sixth Form Centre for Haileybury-UK, a rebranding interior design scheme for Haileybury Almaty along with a 500sqm canteen extension and masterplanning exercise for this popular expanding English language, 3FE, ‘all through’ school in Kazakhstan’s second city.