A Steep Learning Curve

Abercrombie Primary School, Chesterfield


Wildgoose Construction


Wildgoose Construction

The Challenge

As part of a continued programme of upgrading primary schools in Derbyshire, a new school was to be constructed in Victoria Street, Chesterfield.

The chosen site for the new school was extremely steep and in order to make the space more functional, numerous landscaping retaining walls of widely varying heights were required throughout the new school grounds.

An Anchor retaining wall system had been used previously at Herbert Strutt Replacement Primary School in Belper and had been positively received by Derbyshire County Council.

The design team’s landscape architect approached AG for assistance in the design and detailing of the new retaining walls required at Abercrombie Primary School. AG would be required to provide a fully indemnified design and supply package to the successful contractor including construction assistance and guidance.

The Solution

In conjunction with their specialist retaining wall designer, GRM, AG provided the client and the main contractor with a fully indemnified engineered retaining wall design and supply package consisting of construction drawings, supporting design calculations, installation training and guidance.

The chosen solution was an Anchor Diamond® reinforced soil segmental block system with the Canelletto colour split-facing blocks which achieved the necessary aesthetics, durability, flexibility, cost effectiveness and long-term structural performance required by the client and contractor alike.

Due to the unique trapezoidal shape of the Anchor Diamond® blocks, the landscape architect was able to design sweeping curved retaining walls ranging from only a few hundred millimetres up to 2.5m in retained height.

All of the retaining walls greater than 1m in height were of reinforced soil construction; multiple layers of geogrid and compacted granular backfill which are frictionally connected to the Anchor Diamond® facing blocks.

After construction of the main landscaping retaining walls were completed, the landscape architect specified additional Anchor Diamond® blocks be used to form an amphitheatre toward the top of the site.

The main contractor, Wildgoose Construction, were surprised with the simple yet flexible dry-build construction method that allowed the installation to continue even in inclement weather conditions.

“The whole of the new school is fabulous and provides us with a wonderful environment in which to teach our children. The landscaping (including the retaining walls) has been designed really well and the children particularly enjoy outside lessons held in the amphitheatre at the top of the slope.”

Neil Oates | Headmaster of Abercrombie Primary School
Abercrombie Primary School, Chesterfield featured image
Abercrombie Primary School, Chesterfield featured image
Abercrombie Primary School, Chesterfield featured image

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