- Planning and Design
Planning and Design Process
The new-build aspects of the scheme are a triumph of innovation and sustainable construction, not to mention an exemplar use of Welsh timber, for which the new buildings are entirely constructed. In line with Passivhaus requirements, the honest, pared back form of the new junior years building is wrapped in continuous air-tight duvet layer from the foundations-up. To give a fresh and natural aesthetic, the envelope is clad in Welsh larch and topped with a contemporary zinc standing seam roof.
The elliptical pod building, constructed using the Brettstapel method, is one of the first examples of Brettstapel construction being used in the education sector in the UK. The technique poses as a showcase for Wales’ abundance of low-grade softwood, Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce. The pod provides important break out space for the pupils, used for assemblies, performance and activity based learning.
Key Sustainability Points
The sustainable Passivhaus strategy that benefits the schools excellent building performance is met with an innovative low-carbon approach to design and construction. The Brettstapel in particular is a great example of this, maximising the performance of low-grade softwood components allowing them to be used structurally whilst providing a natural, toxin-free interior finish that complements the internal air quality.
Renewable, low-tech construction techniques are utilised throughout the scheme in particular on the Welsh timber frame and façade. Besides the inherent excellent sustainable credentials, the two new buildings showcase the capabilities of Welsh timber and promote the material to the industry, with positive consequences to broaden the market for Welsh timber.
The eco-specification continues beyond the construction aspects of the scheme and is continued throughout the interior. Wood wool acoustic panels made from a mixture of pine, spruce and poplar wood fibre strands, bound with magnesite and treated with natural salt have been specified for the ceiling panels. Other materials have included recycled tyre matting in areas of heavy footfall and natural vegetable oil stains on interior ply finishes.
"This is the new home for the children of Burry Port – for their children, and probably their grandchildren too. We can't even begin to explain the difference this building has made to us – the children think it's very cool. The pupils love their new, eco-friendly classes they are light and spacious, providing an excellent environment for learning.”
Alison Williams, Head Teacher
- Design and Construction Information
Client: Carmarthenshire County Council
Architect: Architype & Carmarthenshire County Council
Landscape Architect: Mackley Davies Associates
M and E Engineer: Troup Bywaters & Anders
Contractor: WRW Construction
Date of Completion: August 2015
Contract value: £3,800,000
Site Area: Internal area: 1993 m2
Funding: 21st Century Schools
Awards: RSAW Welsh Architecture Award 2016, RSAW Sustainability Award 2016, RSAW Project Architect of the Year 2016 (Andrew Tidy, CCC and George Mikurcik, Architype), shortlisted for Eisteddfod Gold Medal 2016, Structural Timber Awards 2016 – Highly Commended for Best Educational Project, Winner of the Sustain Wales Awards (Best Educational Project), Constructing Excellence Wales Awards – Highly Commended (innovation award), Shortlisted for the Construction News Awards