De Montfort University architecture students held an exhibition of their 2nd year design projects for an extension to a Victorian village school in the Leicestershire village of Swannington on Saturday 16th May 2015. This co-production project with Swannington C of E Primary School was built into these 2nd year architecture student’s curriculum and has very effectively introduced them to the challenges and potential of community heritage design. Hosted by the school the exhibition was timed to coincide with the School’s Summer Fayre and was also the launch of the school’s SPACE campaign to raise funds for a new classroom and multi-purpose building for the increasing number of children attending the school. It was a great pleasure to welcome Mr Bill Boulter Chairman of Leicestershire County Council to see the exhibition and he spent a considerable amount of time talking with the architecture students about their designs. Speaking about their work Mr Boulter praised the students’ designs saying that they had lots of excellent ideas which should be considered for incorporation into the final plans of the new school building. he also said that the project’s emphasis on designing to fit sympathetically into the heart of this historic village using traditional materials and building forms was very welcome. This is an important aspect of the Digital Building Heritage Group’s philosophy in dealing with historic contexts – where new buildings are necessary they should be highly sensitive to the existing architecture – and architecture students should be taught how to develop imaginative designs with this as a leading principle. The event was a great opportunity for residents of Swannington and people further afield in north-west Leicestershire to see the designs that the students had produced and discuss how these might influence the new building. We have blogged before about this initiative here but what was remarkable about the event on the day was all the positive comments from local people, parents and the school’s staff and governors about how the student’s work really brought home the fact that their campaign for a new school building was under-way and how the student’s designs were inspiring the parents and children. For their part the students enjoyed a great lunch provided by the school and spent the afternoon explaining their designs to the many parents and county visitors who came to the school’s Fayre. We’re delighted with the way this project has been successfully completed and have enjoyed enormously working with our community partners at Swannington C of E Primary School. We’ll bring further updates on the school’s SPACE campaign as it develops.