Steiner Academy


John Renshaw Architects have created a beautiful, natural environment for inspiring, imaginative education for the Steiner Academy Hereford, formerly the Hereford Waldorf School, to form the first state funded Steiner school in the UK.

The redevelopment of this small village school provides a new hall and classrooms, extending and transforming the school’s previous accommodation, comprising the former Victorian school, medieval farmhouse and 18th century barns, around a tranquil courtyard. The project is exemplary in terms of its environmental footprint, the use of natural materials and enhancement of the natural environment.

The Steiner Academy campus sits on a site of approximately 4.3 ha, and the landscape in which it sits is of great value to the school, forming a key part of the curriculum.

Within the landscape there are several educational building comprising of a metalwork and craft building, storytelling building, greenwood working building and garden classroom and poly tunnel. These are designed to make use of their connection with the landscape and to blend in with the landscape over time.

Each class has a dedicated garden and will learn about the many aspects of horticulture in the garden classroom. The site incorporates an array of productive gardens, orchards and recreational gardens, which will all be used for teaching purposes. 

This project, part of the Steiner Academy Hereford comprised of the refurbishment and extension of Church Farm to house three kindergartens and staff accommodation, and the construction of a new Kindergarten (501sq m).  It was very important for the school that the design of the spaces be conducive to Steiner teaching methods and reflect the architectural principles founded by Rudolf Steiner whilst still respecting and reflecting the local architectural context.

The design of the kindergartens reflected the Steiner ethos and teaching methods, incorporating low ceiling heights, to reflect the scale of the children, a rounded interior form to give a feeling of security and wellbeing and the use of colour to stimulate development.  Each of the kindergartens has its own garden, as Landworks is the specialism of this academy.

The project was shortlisted for an RIBA regional award in 2012. 

The Team

Completed: 2011

Client: Steiner Academy Hereford

Structural & Civil Engineer: Buro Happold Ltd

Services Engineer: Buro Happold Ltd

Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon LLP

CDM Coordinator: Buro HAppold Ltd

Contractor: Speller Metcalfe

Project Manager: Arup

Theatre Lighting Consultant: Creative Lighting Design

Sustainable Water Management: Nick Grant Elemental Solutions

Landscape Architect: Peter McGowan Associates

Archeologist: Cotswold Archeology

Ecologist: Wildways