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21st century learning in motion

CMA+U named amongst winners at ‘Future Proofing Schools Competition’

by Sian 06 December 2011
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    The University of Melbourne, united with partners, including the Australian Department of Early Childhood and Early Childhood Development, have recently been seeking out a fresh stream of inspiration and ideas, for providing nurturing, enriching environments for its future generations; they have now announced those designers to emerge triumphant. Forming part of a larger Australian research program, named ‘Building the Education Revolution’, this particular search has been centralised on the theme of relocatable construction.

    One of those, whose project caught the judges’ eyes, was submitted by Wellington-based CMA+U, picking up the Sustainability Award ; at the core of their conceptions is ‘click-learning’, a supposed means of extending learning landscape. An advantage to opting for Click-Learn modules is the adaptable customisation afforded, regarding climate and situ. One of the methods they’ve incorporated, in order to comply with the design brief, is the use of a CNC fabricated timber system. Able to utilise prefab concrete or steel base structures, as required, this particular assembly technique allows for flat-pack delivery, before being rapidly put together onsite. Further enhancing a penchant for speed, in the proposed structures, insulated panel roofing and wall cladding again aids assembly speed. An external roof, and additional wall louvers provides the overall exterior a ‘second skin’, for easing hot and humid climates.

    In addition to the importance placed on easily erectable and transferable properties, a real conscionable consideration, unsurprisingly, on sustainability has been enacted. The use of factory fabricated building elements reduces material waste and the whole building can be constructed from renewable, certified timber. Roofing has been increased to maximise the available space for solar-thermal collectors, or PV panels, whilst also acting as a means of collecting rainwater. This means of acquisition will allow for both greater energy efficiency, as well as a green means of supplying for additional kitchen gardens. Here, whilst cultivating small plots of plant life, an interaction with nature is intended to provide important learning experiences.

    Spaces are structured according to a ‘spatial logic’, laid out in warp and weft zones for services and areas for quite study or play. CMA-U has stated that there’s no concrete ordering, and the particular location will be considered on an individual basis. Schools with a higher temperate, will be amply accommodated, as use of cold courts, assisted by hot, will create places for escape from the sun’s rays; likewise, passive ventilation strategies ease the burden on active heating or cooling.

    Tom Aston

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