Hub of activity

Sunday 28 Feb 2010

As the first BREEAM 'Excellent' primary school in Britain, St Luke’s demonstrates the power of design to feed educational opportunity

St Luke’s CE Primary School is a new two form entry primary designed to achieve a transformational approach to education and create an enhanced learning environment.Designed through an inclusive process of empowered consultation, the design of the school is radical. The building is organised around a simple and highly legible plan, in which corridors are eliminated and combined with specialist spaces to form two generous and airy activity ‘hubs’, around which the classrooms are arranged. This, together with the way in which pairs of classrooms can be joined together by opening acoustic screens, creates a wide variety of flexible opportunities for teaching and learning.

St Luke’s is the first primary school in Britain to achieve an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating. In contrast to the usual UK approach of adding sustainable features and micro-renewables to offset energy, at St Luke’s sustainability is integrated into design from first principles, creating a highly energy efficient, healthy and comfortable school. The plan and section work together to create a series of delightful and uplifting spaces, with exceptional daylighting, natural ventilation and an excellent acoustic environment, which enhance the learning environment. Children and teachers report that this enhances their enjoyment and their ability to concentrate and focus on their work

Carbon emissions are reduced by 60%, and both children and teachers report that the healthy, well daylit and naturally ventilated spaces enhance their enjoyment and ability to concentrate.The all timber construction is heavily insulated, with U values three times those required to comply with UK building regulations. Sustainably sourced natural materials with a ‘raw’ character – including homegrown Douglas fir cladding, and Cedar shingle roofs, are crisply detailed within a modern aesthetic. Timber and plywood finished with natural oils, are combined internally with linoleum and rubber flooring to create a calm atmosphere.

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