Conceiving, Planning and Making

Nigel Billington, John Jeffrey
1978, Vol. 10, No. 2,

Abstract


Pocklington School is an Independent boys' Day/Boarding School. The Design Centre, which opened in January 1970, brought together under one roof an existing Art Department and a new Technical Unit. From the outset it was decided that the Centre should develop an integrated approach rather than separate art and technical courses and this has led to the development of a basic course which aims to challenge intelligence and appeal to creative and aesthetic instincts. The course as developed at present is followed by all boys in the 11+ to 13+ age range. (Approximately 60-100 boys in each year group).

All boys in Forms I, II and III are time-tabled to spend two double periods each week in the Centre, one on the Art side and the other on the Technical in groups of twenty. The distribution varies from time to time and a group may spend all four periods in one place, or two groups may combine together for a joint session if a particular phase of their work demands it.

In the IVth form boys may opt to take Art, Pottery or Design Technology as '0' level subjects, and continue on to 'A' level in the VIth form taking the Oxford and Cambridge Art exam.

The Design Centre is situated in a new single storey prefabricated building with an 'H' shaped open plan arrangement of seven main teaching areas, and has a total ground area of 6,750 sq. ft. In all the early planning of the enterprise there was the fullest consultation between the School's Architect and ourselves, which allowed us to have complete control of the ground plan, provision and layout of services, design of furniture and fittings, and selection of equipment. This freedom has resulted in a building that has yet to limit our activities, although in our work we naturally concentrate on a fewer number of activities at any moment than would be possible in a large Design Complex. However, we do not feel that this is particularly disadvantageous.

The decision to integrate the main outline of the work has demanded a close collaboration between the teaching staff. Naturally the greater the number of people involved in a scheme, the greater the difficulties involved in ensuring common objectives, and the co-ordinated activity that enables a single topic to be pursued in a number of different areas. In the light of our experience with part-time teachers, students and schemes with local Art and Teacher Training Colleges, we feel that the scale of enterprise is of vital importance in the success of a Design Department. What we may lose in extensive facilities is more than compensated for by increased cohesion within the unit.


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