A new kind of primary school: beautiful, sustainable and stimulating
Árter based the unique shape of the school on the name of the neighbourhood, Les Trèfles (The Clovers), and on studies by Japanese professor, Mitsuru Senda. 'He showed that round play areas elicit up to 20% more spontaneous movement,’ says architect Patrick Vonck. 'Moreover, circles have 20% less facade for the same area. Because of this, I could literally break up the standard school structure with enclosed hallway, and use that corridor area for extra play space.'
In addition to the inventive layout, Árter’s school is also highly sustainable. With an energy use of only 12kWh/m2 per year, it achieves performance equivalent to that of a passivhaus building. To achieve this, various techniques such as heat recovery, natural light, quadruple glazing with a built-in sun protection system, green roofs, and rainwater recycling were used. Construction materials were also chosen based on their full lifecycle environmental impact.
For the facade cladding, Vonck chose, among other things, Rockpanel Chameleon boards. The facade cladding has been directly bonded to support the school’s clean aesthetic. 'I was pleasantly surprised that I could specify a product which enhances the ‘cyclic’ aspect of the school, and at the same time achieve a BRE Green Guide A+ rating. Materials must be carefully chosen in Ultra-low-energy buildings, so it is important that we are able to rely on manufactures to provide the necessary testing and performance certification and onsite support', states Patrick Vonck.