Waingels College, Reading

According to architects Sheppard Robson, Waingels College represents ‘the school as a community and its buildings as a village of learning spaces’, and this innovative, multi-building secondary school – built to replace an overcrowded 1970s development – now houses around 1,500 students.

Waingels College with VELFAC windows

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The emphasis on natural daylight and communal areas, underpinned by the cross-laminated timber construction, has significantly improved the learning environment and as a result has gained the College a regional RIBA Award and an Award for Excellence in Design for Teaching and Learning from the British Council for School Environment.

Maximum daylight

VELFAC composite aluminium / timber glazing is integral to Sheppard Robson’s vision for the College. Installed in long ribbon runs, as large ground floor blocks, and behind multi-storey timber screens, the slim VELFAC frame ensures maximum daylight enters the interior, and supports a floor plan which, says Sheppard Robson, deliberately avoids ‘long dark corridors in favour of naturally lit, interconnected break out areas,’ resulting in spaces which are ‘open and flexible, encouraging cross-curricular interaction’.

Clear varnished pine and durable aluminium

Internally, clear varnished pine VELFAC frames blend seamlessly with the pale timber cladding used in both learning and communal spaces, further enhancing the emphasis on space and light. Externally, the durable aluminium VELFAC frame is finished in dark grey to provide a deliberate contrast with innovative façade materials which range from vibrant orange and yellow render to weathered timber cladding.

The College is also built to showcase sustainable design and delivers exceptional energy efficiency, performance supported by the low energy, sustainably produced VELFAC glazing system. As a result, the College achieves a 60% reduction in carbon emissions – compared to the previous building – and a regulated energy consumption of just 42KWhr/m2/yr.


Sector: Education

Architect: Sheppard Robson

Client: Wokingham Borough Council

Specified for:

  • Slim frame / maximum daylight
  • Energy efficiency
  • Internal timber frame / external aluminium
  • Design versatility
  • Durability