By Brook Valley School

In 2014 CMS Group were approached by By Brook Valley Primary School, Wiltshire to develop an extension to their building that could embody the school’s approach to embedding a sustainable ethos within their curriculum. The extension would comprise two classrooms that could act as a learning space enabling pupils to engage with principles of environmentally conscious behaviour.

Central to the scheme’s success was the provision of an outdoor teaching area, surrounded by a newly formed Outdoor Wildlife Habitat, seamlessly integrating the concept of combining human and natural activities throughout the year.

The building itself sought to use recycled materials such as plastic decking formed from plastic drinks bottles and is clad in sustainably sourced larch. The internal spaces are naturally daylit and ventilated with clerestory windows and a passive ventilation strategy. The original design included a living roof and breathable terracotta blocks, which unfortunately could not meet the strict available build budget.

The design avoids bolt on sustainable measures through careful use of passive features such as orientation, glazing, natural daylight and ventilation, insulation levels and airtightness. Absence detection technology and underfloor heating contribute to its efficient running.

The scheme has created an immersive learning environment that helps pupils to appreciate principles of sustainability.