Featuring out-of-the-ordinary architectural shapes and a truly creative design, the Sandal Magna Community Primary School in Wakefield, England also happens to be one of the UK's most carbon efficient. Designed by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, the complex resembles the industrial forms of its surroundings and incorporates reclaimed materials, energy conservation, and renewable energy. The school recently won the RIBA award for both its green efforts and its unique looks.
When the original Victorian school on the site fell into disrepair, the red bricks were disassembled. Wigglesworth then re-used the original bricks to build elements for the new Sandal Magna. The school was also constructed largely from sustainable timber. The original Victorian bell even hangs in the new tower, telling children it’s time for school just as it has for over a hundred years.
The school’s roofs jut into asymmetrical profiles, allowing for ventilation and natural lighting to waft fresh air and sunlight into the classrooms below. Wigglesworth wanted the school’s energy saving features to be apparent to the students, so that they could learn from them. That said, a rainwater harvesting system and a completely natural ventilation system are visible throughout the school. Photovoltaic solar paneling is laid on the roof, and provides power to a ground source heat pump that heats water and provides the school’s temperature control.
The students also have their own plot of garden behind the school, used to raise fruits and vegetables. The school houses 210 students under the age of 11, but was built to accommodate expansion to 315. Aside from the regular curriculum, the students will learn the importance of energy efficiency, and raising their own produce.
Images © Mark Hadden