Windsor Olympus Academy is a new build DfE secondary school with a capacity of 1200 pupils, located in Winson Green, Birmingham.




BAM Construction

The new building provides academic spaces for the pupils, with the sports and performance spaces shared for use by the wider community.

An Outline Permission had previously been granted through the Department for Education (DfE) on the site that had been identified by the Local Authority. However, maber were asked to revisit the scheme. It was important to propose a scheme that was more than a school, and to create spaces for the community. Previously a deprived area, our design needed to make this a building for everyone in the area, without segregating the two. 


We started an iterative process of trialling different design principles, varying from superblocks to finger block arrangements, whilst also adhering to brief requirements and comments from the school in weekly client engagement meetings.

The site was heavily constrained and included existing sewer easements, a watercourse, a 2m railway line exclusion zone and had a site level change of 6m. However, the location also provided opportunities such as green screening on the north and south boundaries, which provided containment and security. The final site arrangement was formed around these characteristics and allowed for an efficient floor plan and easy access from internal sports spaces to external pitches and social areas.


The building is a three storey massing, stepping up from a single storey entrance colonnade from the street to a three storey teaching wing deeper into the site.




Reflecting the School’s ethos, principles were taken from Ancient Greek architecture – such as symmetry and order. The dining hall in the centre, features piers that project from the main face adding interest and verticality, resulting in a consistent rhythm across the face, emphasised further through brick and mortar variations.



Traditional bricks have been carefully selected to relate to the local vernacular, consisting of a light buff brick, with a darker grey brick forming a plinth. Lightweight bronze cladding sits on the upper floor of the sports facilities, providing a focal point to the street scene. Whilst the Academy’s palette is used subtly on the spandrel panels of the main accommodation.


The element of piers is carried from the dining hall through to the entrance area – forming a colonnade from the car park to the main reception, that also provides cover.


All photographs are copyright of Tomazs Kozak of Kozak Photos.