Growing in Arbourthorne

Year | 2021
Location | Arbourthorne Community Primary School, Sheffield
Clients | AEBA

‘An Even Better Arbourthorne’ is an initiative run by Arbourthorne Community Primary School, in Sheffield, which aims to create long term opportunities for the schoolchildren, their families and the wider community. Over the course of the six week project, the Growing in Arbourthorne Live Project team worked with the school to develop a vision for the future of the initiative. The school’s brief outlined the need for a number of built interventions to support their aims of community capacity-building and outdoor learning. These interventions would facilitate the growth of existing projects promoting food and nutrition support in the community.

The Live Project team worked closely with school staff, parent groups and volunteers to develop the brief and ensure the proposal would benefit all site users. Engagement events were held with students and teachers to gain an understanding of their individual requirements and to illustrate activities that could take place in the future. Through undertaking regular site visits and interviews with teaching and maintenance staff it became clear that the fit-out of the existing outdoor classroom for use as a cooking, meeting, and learning space, would be the most effective use of our time on site. This process encompassed several stages: research, technical design, the specification and purchase of materials, and culminated in a week of hands-on construction in collaboration with Handspring Design, the creators of the original classroom structure. 

To ensure that the legacy of the project outlasted our short period of involvement we devised three project phases: short, medium, and long-term. The short-term phase, the duration of the Live Project, includes the outdoor classroom fit out, development of a water strategy and the groundwork for a firepit area. 

The medium-term phase includes detailed designs for a compost area and privacy screen, outlining different options at varying price bands. In addition, guidance documents have been produced, outlining potential small-scale, low budget projects, such as a sun clock and a barefoot sensory trail, that the school and wider community could undertake in the future. 

Finally, the long-term phase proposes a masterplan for the entire school grounds, made up of a series of learning biomes, each connected to an aspect of the school’s curriculum. A set of visuals illustrating how these spaces could be activated will be used by the client to support future funding applications, and will continue the momentum and excitement of the Growing in Arbourthorne Live Project.


Mentor: Danni Kerr
Client: Arbourthorne Community Primary School
Location: Arbourthorne, Sheffield
Students: Amelia Little, Bryony Dennis, Chenbo Zhao, Irene
D’Aurelio D’Arpino, James Chapman, Jingyi Guo, Laura Jamieson,
Laurie Hampson, Rose Helps, Rui Zhang, Samuel Dowell, Samuel
Kerin, Yitian Wang, Zhekai Shen