Tensile Structures – The Regis School

The Regis School 

The Regis School, part of United Learning, is a large secondary school and sixth form in Bognor Regis on the south coast of England. Having completed a dining hall extension for the school in 2015, we were very pleased to be approached for a further canopy project under consideration in the Spring of 2020.

An existing canopy structure did not provide good cover for the irregularly shaped space chosen so this was dismantled and removed from site. In its place we installed an ORION Barrel Vault tensile membrane canopy with a length of 15m, tapering in width from 9m up to 15m, maximising the available covered space. The design flexibility of ORION Barrel Vault allows fitting to almost any irregular shaped space with relative ease in comparison to structures that utilise solid roofing.

To give the space additional protection from inclement weather, the school specified toughened glass windbreak panels to the exposed elevation of the canopy, shielding students from wind and rain. Along with this the external gable end above the servery pod is infilled using tensile façade mesh, cutting down the spaces that are open to the weather. The structure is sited slightly away from the building, to allow access for maintenance of both the school building and the canopy itself.

The canopy roof is manufactured from a PVC tensile membrane and tensioned using bespoke aluminium extrusions fixed to the steel canopy structure. As well as providing evenly diffused light through the space, tensile membrane is a great option acoustically as it cuts down on reverberation of sounds within the space, as well as creating less noise when rain falls on the roof. This is ideal when a canopy is located close to classroom spaces.

The canopy was specified with a fixed edge membrane, which discharges all rain water into metal gutters and downpipes which are all polyester powder coated to match the steel frame. The downpipes take the water to ground level and in this case discharges to the surface to run to pre-existing drains, although it is possible to connect directly to existing drains. A significant benefit of the ORION Barrel Vault canopy structure is the short installation time, typically 4-5 days including all groundworks and reinstatement.

With over 180m2 of floor space, there is room for 10-12 picnic tables and the current 9 in place, comfortably seat 72 students. The layout allows plenty of space for students to queue under cover while waiting to purchase their food. The finished space has proved a hit with the students with staff reporting lengthy queues of those eager to use the new area, while the existing dining hall relegated to second choice!

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