National Design Consultancy was appointed to design the M & E Services for the £5.8 million Language Immersion Centre which will be built at Blackfriars Priory, Gloucester.
Language immersion is a highly original approach to the teaching of foreign languages, developed by Gloucestershire County Council as part of a successful bid to the Department for Children, Schools and Families for the construction of a world class learning facility in Gloucester. The centre will focus on languages rarely taught in the UK such as Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The residential facility “immerses” schoolchildren, mainly from ages 14 to 19, for prolonged periods in the target language within a digital environment that recreated aspects of the country in which that language is spoken. Further funding for the project has also been received from both English Heritage and the South West Regional Development Agency.
A group of 19th and 20th Century industrial buildings that replaced the south-east quadrant of the medieval priory will be removed and the Language Immersion Centre will repair the form of the cloister courtyard. The new structure will include much needed service spaces that will unlock the viability of the medieval priory as a public venue, and help define a new public route linking across the site through the cloister to connect with a proposed new square. It will also reconnect to remote upper floors of adjoining priory ranges to make these usable and accessible to all.