Ainsley Gommon Architects


Deeside College (now Coleg Cambria)


Deeside Campus Connah's Quay, Flintshire


£2.25 million

Date Completed

Autumn 2009

Development Overview

Learning Pathways 14-19 is a Welsh Government commitment to the transformation of learning provision for all young people in Wales, providing a more flexible and balanced approach to their education and a wider range of experiences to suit their diverse educational needs. Ainsley Gommon Architects were appointed by Deeside College in 2007 to design the Learning Core Development Centre as part of this initiative to provide 16 flexible new classrooms which could easily be adapted for different uses.

The site is located in a courtyard space, bounded on three sides by the existing 1950’s College buildings. Views were limited due to the confined space but the practice suggested the design strategy should seek to make the most of a mature oak tree as the natural focus in the middle of the site. The new classrooms were designed to face into the new courtyard on the south side to create an uplifting and dynamic building form.

As a result, the new building is colourful, light and spacious whilst creating a stimulating learning environment. The curved building form creates classrooms with splayed walls, allowing improved acoustic performance and flexibility of seating layouts. Nev Price, the Head of Programmes at Deeside College has said of the building: “the Centre is a delight to work in. It provides an incredible learning facility which is enjoyed by all.”

The highly sustainable building benefits from passive solar gain and high levels of natural daylight. Water efficiency was one of the building’s primary aims, with water saving devices such as low flow sanitary fittings specified and a rainwater harvesting system with a digital readout in the foyer, helping to inform students and staff.

The building was constructed in two phases, and was completed in September 2009 at a cost of £2.25 million. The building was awarded the Welsh National Green Apple Gold Award in 2010.