St Mary’s Catholic School, Longbenton, Newcastle

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To provide a new secondary and sixth form school for St Mary’s that presents a non-flamboyant, traditional image to reflect its serious role within the community. The building had to be robust, economic yet grand, and designed and constructed to stand the test of time.


Brick was chosen for its durability and economy to form the majority of the external facades, with linear fenestration and a very limited material and colour palette to create a simple but imposing visual. Working closely with Ibstock, the architect developed an almost monochromatic colour scheme based on crease-textured Leicester Multi Cream bricks, with Staffordshire Blue Brindle Smooth up to damp proof level to firmly ground the building. Ibstock’s Elementix rainscreen cladding system, clad with Elementix Express Natural Cream large format brick tiles to match the subtle colour and texture of the main brickwork, was chosen to provide a contrasting and durable finish to the main sports hall at the front of the building and the 6th form area at the rear.