Amsterdam's Noord borough is going above and beyond to teach students about gardening and the environment. Architecture studio Bureau SLA completed the Nature & Environment Learning Center (NME), a net-zero energy building that serves as a learning space and an educational tool. The solar-powered structure’s energy-efficient features were designed to be highly visible and tangible to all users.
Built to replace two temporary structures, the timber-clad NME comprises two large classrooms, a canteen, and office space, and is surrounded by the school’s verdant garden. Its slanted form and careful placement on the site helps achieve optimal solar orientation and gives children the chance to see solar panels up close. The south-facing trombe walls absorb heat during winter to warm the interior and minimize dependence on the heating system.
The north facade is fully glazed to frame views of the gardens and bring in natural light. The window-less east exterior wall includes 20 birdhouses and one nook for a bat on the west end. The interior reinforced the connection with nature through the predominate use of wood, left untreated, that lines surfaces from the walls and ceilings to the stairs and railings.
Images via Bureau SLA, © Filip Dujardin