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A new classroom for Castle Hill School

06 March 14 Author:Michelle Gaffaney

We are thrilled to be the chosen design and build company for Castle Hill School’s new classroom.

Designing for a school is always time to push the boat out and design something that is fun, interesting and reflects the ethos of this brilliant and ambitious local school.

The new Castle Hill School building design is inspired by a dynamic and forward thinking school which honours its local community and wants to provide a sustainable and fun learning environment for its pupils. Straw, stone, lime, earth, and wood are the main building materials. Together they will form a long lasting a healthy place for young people to explore ideas and develop their young minds.

The new classroom will be used to host pre and after school clubs, to do cooking classes and as a library and informal ICT suite. Simplicity allows for flexibility.  Looking to the future all schools need to be flexible and creative with their learning methods, bringing in space for new technologies and developing links with the local community. This building will allow for that by creating an adaptable space that can be changed to suit the needs of the group. Straw and clay will be used to create soft reading nooks for informal learning.

The outside is as important as the inside for learning opportunities. The new building will incorporate changes to the playground area creating more Incredible Edible beds, a veranda for covered outdoor playing and a green roof will increase the habitat space for birds and wildlife. The building will be clad with larch which we are hoping will be sourced from Hardcastle Crags by local company Black Bark and lime render will provide weather proofing for the straw bale walls.

This super energy efficient building will maximise the warmth from the sun from glazing to the south side. Calculations show that only minimal heating will be required to provide optimal temperatures once the heat from the pupils is taken into account. Straw bales provide excellent insulation properties and the internal cob walls will hold the heat from the sun and act like a radiator.

We are working with the school to make sure that it is not only the finished building which provides learning opportunites but that we maximises the community involvement throughout the construction process. We will be running courses on straw bale building and cob building for local people. So watch this space for more details and if you would like to get involved please email us to get onto the mailing list: [email protected]

The wall raising will be over this summer.

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Michelle Gaffaney
Michelle Gaffaney - Architectural Director
With a wealth of experience working on a range of projects, Michelle Gaffaney has a passion for design and strong relationships with her clients. Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn