Co-op Academy Belle Vue

Co-op Academy Belle Vue, located on Hyde Road in Manchester, is a new co-educational school that caters to 1,200 pupils and approximately 60-70 staff members. It is the ninth Co-Op Academy in Greater Manchester and provides an excellent learning atmosphere for students.

The newly constructed Academy now stands where the former showcase cinema once was. However, prior to its cinema days, the site had a rich history dating back over 140 years as part of the renowned Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, which the school has aptly named itself after.

Throughout the project, the primary focus was on meeting the needs of the end user, with a strong emphasis on principles of education and community engagement. As a result, the building includes a variety of features designed to benefit both pupils and the local community. These include a community hub, modern library, and dining hall, as well as a state-of-the-art auditorium. The design follows the principles of the DfE standard design concepts and includes one teaching wing tied together with a central street of community and performance spaces. Additionally, the building boasts exceptional sporting facilities, including outdoor playing fields that meet Sport England standards and a two-storey sports block with separate access to a 93-space car park that includes electric charging points.

Working with the client, the design and construction team were able to submit planning within eight weeks of the initial engagement.

The SPACE design approach combines the key adjacency arrangements of the DfE baseline designs with compliant output specification, a standardised structural & building services approach and daylight strategies. Whilst providing a DfE-compliant solution, it also focuses on delivering flexibility in the standardised design, as evidenced by the success of Belle Vue Academy. The school has a real focus on its community, and as such, community use areas are included in the design at the 'heart' of the building. Safe Pedestrian access, the flexibility of teaching spaces, and key performance and community spaces accessed off the primary central 'street' are also important features of the overall design.

"The team at SPACE have been really impressive in the way that they have taken time to listen to our requirements, reiterate the design, provide credible advice and guidance while all the while ensuring that the project stays on track, on time and within the requirements that the framework demands," explained Steve Brice, Executive Headteacher of the Co-operative Academies Trust.


Co-op Academy Belle Vue is an exceptional educational facility that meets Co-op Academies' specific teaching pedagogy. SPACE Architects are proud to have delivered this project alongside Sir Robert McAlpine, the design team, Manchester City Council, and the Co-operative Academies Trust.

Commenting, Scott Fletcher, Head of the Academy, said: "This new facility represents not just bricks and mortar, but an investment in the future of our students and community. We are excited to offer our students access to the latest resources and technology and to provide them with an inspiring and dynamic learning environment."

This particular project highlights that for more than two decades, SPACE Architects has been at the forefront of school design. While much has changed when it comes to the procurement, design, and build of education schemes, SPACE Architects' dedication to delivering buildings that enhance people's lives and make a difference where they live, work, learn, and play has remained unwavering. This project is a testament to our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible and providing exceptional results that surpass our client's expectations.