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Argoed Secondary School, Mynydd Isa

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Argoed School was designed by Clwyd County Architect K J Denley and John Brian Davies (assistant-in-charge). It was built in response both to the rise in school leaving age to 16 and the expansion of Mynydd Isa with the construction of many new housing estates through the 1970s, and was Clwyd's first purpose-built school for 11 to 16 year olds.

It was constructed in three phases between 1977 and 1981, and was built as a series of inter-connected teaching blocks entirely in exposed, board-marked, reinforced concrete with large expanses of glazing, and with what the Society of Architects in Wales Yearbook for 1983 describes as 'carefully considered details' such as 'Corbusian gargoyles'. The main building contractor was Cheshire-based company, Ponchins (Contractors) Limited. It was subsequently awarded a Cement & Concrete Association Craftsman Award. 

The school contrasts with the brick and curtain-wall construction of earlier post-war examples, and was comparable only with Bettws School, Newport (NPRN 594) which has been demolished. It is therefore the only surviving example of the 'toughening up of architectural appearences' of school buildings that occured across Britain at this period, when concrete was chosen both for its sculptural and aesthetic qualities and or its ability to withstand the tough wear and tear that school buildings underwent, and is a unique and significant example in Wales. The angled walls and sloping, glazed, elevations aimed to reduce maintainance costs and acheive good environmental control in relation to solar gain, noise reduction and natural lighting.

The building was approved for demolition in 2021 under the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools Programme. The Twentieth Century Society campaigned unsuccessfully for the school to be listed as 'an exceptionally fine example of a Brutalist educational building built in the second half of the 20th century by an important architect of the period', with Cadw determining Argoed did not meet the standards for architectural innovation set by Bettws High School.

RCAHMW, March 2022