Design On Learning About The Natural Environment
Connectivity between internal and external environments is going beyond the curriculum at a new school on the Isle of Sheppey: it is reflected even in the architectural design.
Literally central to the ethos, at least as far as the building construction is concerned, is the utilisation of natural resources solutions from Gilberts Blackpool. The company has provided eight bespoke high performance penthouse terminals, which, via strategic positioning along the centre of the two-storey school’s roof, provide an unobtrusive zero carbon solution to maintaining a bright, fresh environment within.
Main contractor Kier has designed and built the £5million Halfway Houses School for Education Funding Agency under the Priority Schools Building Programme. As the programme prefers the use, where possible, of natural ventilation, Kier turned to Gilberts- Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist- to develop a strategy.
Gilberts’ team devised an innovative solution that not only capitalised on natural ventilation, but also natural light within. Gilberts in-house designed, tested and manufactured bespoke terminals, each 4.6m x 2.2m, to both draw fresh air into the building via an integrated Mistrale VN75 high efficiency damper, and exhaust the used air, using passive stack principles.
Each terminal is topped with a double-glazed ridged rooflight to optimise natural light along the length of the school’s central corridor and break-out learning areas, and further reduce the carbon footprint by reducing reliance on artificial light.
Explained Andy Filmer, Kier Senior Site Manager, “Halfway Houses is in a popular catchment area, so needed to provide extra capacity to accommodate intake. It was deemed to be more effective to relocate and build a new school in the vicinity.
“Our brief was to develop a sustainable building, to reflect the school’s ethos of encouraging a healthy curiosity in the natural world. Our design reflects that, and provides a natural, welcoming environment with internal connectivity to the outside- hence the use of a wood clad façade, natural ventilation and natural light. Gilberts designed the roof terminals to our exact requirements, to create an efficient solution that enhanced the internal and external aesthetics and minimised the building’s carbon emissions.”
Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts has become Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist, with a range of stand-alone natural ventilation solutions, complimented by air movement components- grilles, louvres, diffusers- for mechanically-operated systems. It develops all its products in-house, from design, through tooling to production, in its 90,000 sq ft Blackpool manufacturing facility. Gilberts is unique in its sector in having, in-house, advanced test facilities complimented by full software modelling to provide unrivalled validation of grilles, louvres and diffusers in situ.