St Pancras School short-listed for 2006 Observer Ethical Award
Architects BBM Sustainable Design have designed a new Art and Science extension for this Grant Maintained primary school. The school governors, led by artist Tom Hammick and Head Teacher Angela Ferns, presented BBM with a wonderfully inspired brief to design a new building with the smallest negative effect on the natural world. The project was deemed so innovative that it attracted the attention of the governments’ DfES Innovation Unit who awarded the school £15,000. This money has allowed pupils to film and document the design and construction process of this new building. Together with a local film-maker Mick Hawksworth this information is currently being edited to create an interactive CD ROM to be distributed to all primary schools in England and Wales. The CD will document the construction of this innovative low-impact school extension that has been designed to act as a learning aid during construction and beyond.
This project is of particular interest as BBM have worked very closely with parents, staff and pupils on the design development by undertaking 3d design workshops with all classes. BBM have designed a school building utilising completely environmentally benign materials, sourced locally. These include locally grown sweet chestnut for the ‘glu-lam’ structure (the first of its kind in the world we believe), sustainably-managed cedar shingles (from The Duchy of Cornwall Estate), sheep’s wool insulation and non-toxic paints for a healthy internal environment. Even the timbers use to construct partition walls were treated with a non-toxic insect/ fungus repellent. The scheme also utilizes one of the first ground source heat pumps used in a school building in the UK.
The pupils have been made aware of the sustainable development issues associated with creating a low-impact, low-energy building. They have visited many of the suppliers providing building products; even visiting the coppiced woodland providing timber for the scheme.
Despite all this innovation the project is coming in at about £1,400 per m2, which is very competitive especially as the building is only 225m2.
We believe that this project is pretty unique is terms of the inclusive design process undertaken to develop it, as well as the us of local non-toxic sustainably-managed construction materials and, of course, the overall cost which relates very well to current government ‘PFI’ requirements. We have proven that you can combine the ideals of Jon Sorrell’s ‘joined up thinking for schools’ initiative, together with truly sustainable construction techniques to deliver a wonderful school building on time and on budget.
The building opened in January 2006. There was an official naming ceremony in May 2006 attended by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.