In the north of County Donegal, the town of Milford tucks itself into steeply sloping landscape. The Loreto Community School is similar is plan size to the original town with its main street and private plots. This school sits on a tiered landscape, sheltering 5 metres below the public road and overlooking three playing fields positioned 10 metres below.
Close to Mulroy Bay and exposed to the North Atlantic, the zinc undulating roof rises and falls, creating its own landscape, in response to the drama of the local typography . Light and air are drawn in between the folds of this undulation.
The school is organised into four main elements:
a single storey Technology wing;
a two-storey classroom block;
a Dining / Assembly Area which is placed at the heart of the school; and
a Sports Hall.
Each of these elements 'pin-wheel' around the Dining / Assembly Area, forming sheltered outdoor 'rooms' are formed, each with a different orientation and a different character. This allows for use at various times of the day, as well as providing shelter and comfort from the winds.
Students arrive by bus from various parts of the Inishowen Peninsula and filter down into the main courtyard.
Staff park off a new road , which connects to the Playing Fields below. The Sports Hall has independent access, when required.
All the teaching spaces, with their ceilings lined in plywood, vary in size and volume, drawing light from different sources. The upper level of the classroom block links across to the Sports Hall Gallery by a 'bridge' suspended over the Dining / Assembly Area.
Tall plastered walls catch and reflect sunlight. Points of colour highlight significant areas.