Category Archives: Todmorden

External cladding: Larch and lime

10 Oct 14
Michelle Gaffaney
No Comments

Now the straw walls of our eco-classroom at Castle Hill School have had their first coat of lime render, it’s time for the cladding.

We’re using Scottish-grown larch boards – a durable hardwood which will naturally mature over time to an attractive silvery grey.

Photo 08-10-2014 19 41 41

Photo 08-10-2014 19 41 38

A ‘truth window’, created so that users of and visitors to the building can see the material behind the cladding.

Other parts of the building have been simply rendered using traditional lime, a material often used on straw buildings. Lime is a carbon neutral building material, created by burning limestone. When lime is applied to any surface, the carbon dioxide released during the burning process is re-absorbed as the render dries.

Photo 08-10-2014 19 41 44

Cosy cob reading nooks

09 Oct 14
Michelle Gaffaney
No Comments

One lovely feature of our straw bale eco classroom is the creation of two cosy reading nooks.

They’re made from cob, a mixture of clay, straw and aggregate (more on cob here) and are specially designed so that children can curl up inside with a good book.

They’re not yet finished, but these photos show the raw state – a simple wooden platform and cob casing.

Photo 08-10-2014 19 58 39

Arthur, our plasterer, tries it out for size.

Adding a green roof to the straw bale classroom

28 Aug 14
Michelle Gaffaney
No Comments

The walls are up, and it’s time to add the green roof to our straw bale classroom at Castle Hill School.

First the beams go on

IMG_1972 IMG_1984

Then we need to edge the roof

It will be a green roof – a living ‘lawn’ of sedum on top of the classroom, so a strong ‘fence’ around the edges is needed to prevent the ground from shifting when it rains. There is also a pathway of gravel around the lawn to provide structure and drainage:

Photo 13-08-2014 16 51 26

Photo 12-08-2014 13 03 54

Adding the sedum

For a project of this scale, it’s easier to buy sedum and soil in rolls, like this:

Photo 12-08-2014 16 44 57

They can be easily unrolled onto the surface of the roof:

Photo 12-08-2014 14 18 11

Dan thought he was at the park and tried to take a nap...

Once complete, the roof looks like a field – it’s hard to tell it apart from the landscape behind!

Photo 13-08-2014 16 51 59