It may not feel like it yet, but summer is starting to wind down - and as we look forward to the start of the school year we're showcasing six of our favorite green campuses. High-tech, low-tech or somewhere in-between, these six schools are all beautiful and brilliant designs that foster smarter students while leaving a much smaller impact on the planet they will inherit.
This magnificent school campus in Bali is made entirely from sustainably harvested bamboo. Architecture firm PT Bambu developed the rich environment, which consists of four classrooms, housing, offices, cafes, a gym, and the Heart of the School, a spiraling, multi-story building. The school also runs on clean energy systems like solar power, a biomass boiler, and a micro-hydro generator. Of course, sustainability is a core element of the children’s education.
Modular thinking has gone high-tech with Project FROG‘s Zero Energy Classroom, which is a meticulously designed kit that allows a school to get up and running in as short a time as possible. The design’s success is not just due to its speedy installation however — the carefully concieved space is flooded with indirect daylight and is precisely engineered to provide plenty of clean air. The buildings are also designed to exceed energy code by 25%, keeping the school’s budget intact. With the installation of optional solar arrays, the buildings can be zero energy.
We could argue that the greenest new building is the one made from materials sourced from right where it is built. This art school in Oaxaca, Mexico took it even one step further by using the tailings of other rammed earth projects for its new rammed earth campus studios. Taller de Arquitectura worked with artist Francisco Toledo to create a truly organic campus that includes an earth-bermed stone walled building, ample courtyards, and native low-water plantings. Large north-facing windows provide plenty of natural light, cross-ventilation helps keep the indoor from becoming stuffy, and the massive walls minimize ambient noise.
LOT-EK came up with this funky art school made from shipping containers in Korea. The building’s yellow kinetic shape is a dynamic presence made from 8 angled converted shipping containers lifted 3 meters off the ground. Two studios, a large meeting room, and a gallery make up the inside program, and the covered open area below serves as an amphitheater and performance space.
This impressive German High School is actually an old WW II Armory transformed into a solar-powered, daylit marvel. While the structural elements remain, the new roof is covered in translucent solar panels and glass, bringing the outdoors in while producing 225 kW of clean energy. Prefab classrooms tucked inside the naturally ventilated building provide an energy-efficient space to learn in.
One of the most elegant buildings we have ever come across is Singapore’s green-roofed art school at Nanyang Technological University by CPG Consultants. Like a stroke of calligraphy writ large, two sweeping green roofs create a mesmerizing effect that turns the building into pure landscape. The roof is as smart as it is beautiful – the carpet of grass controls storm water by soaking up monsoon, significantly reduces cooling loads, and adds biodiversity to the campus.