Education Guardian reports today on the development of Acharacle School on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Scotland. The report by Tariq Tahir, should make ‘essential ‘ reading for those involved in school design, construction and in community assets. In addition the school childrens blog ‘they are building outside our class‘ illustrates how construction can be a real educational benefit. One to RSS and watch develop.
And with no eco-bling, no greenwash, this is sustainable development…
The design, illustrating a sustainable future, for two or three generations is based on the use of mass-timber. Architect Howard Liddel from Gaia comments … “the modern school does what it says on the tin but what it has on the tin is a skull and crossbones, and these are toxic fumes. Modern buildings have huge amounts of formaldehyde coming out of the floor coverings, seat coverings, the walls run with condensation.”
“What this project is doing is ticking a lot of boxes in a very subtle manner. There’s no covering the building in ‘eco-bling’ – the gimmicks people put on to make buildings green. It’s really quite liberating for an architect.”
He promised that the new building would provide a much healthier working environment for the staff and 50-odd pupils. “We have an immense problem with toxic materials in buildings – we have 55,000 chemicals we use in building and only 3% of them have been tested for their effects on humans.
“The timber is very good at dealing with indoor moisture passively. In other words, you don’t need a ventilation system when you’ve actually got a material that’s dealing with the moisture. We hardly need any heating at all. We started out, in fact, calling it our Weetabix school, because the kids eat their breakfast and they’re warm enough to heat the room. Every kid is 100 watts, so 20 kids is two kilowatts – and that’s enough to heat a classroom that’s got nearly half a metre of insulation in the walls.”
the report continues:
… the pupils have played a part in getting the new school built. “It’s what the kids want – they’ve been writing and asking for the new school, and it’s exactly the same for us as teachers. The surroundings that we’re in at the moment are not the best for learning.
“It’s terrific that the school is happening, and it’s providing a terrific learning experience in itself. The fact that we’ve got a building site happening next door and the kids can see what’s happening. Also, the fact that the kids have written asking for the new school and have got a response and can see the change is a huge thing. They’ve got a blog and they go out every day and take pictures.”