Wood Awards 2015: Education and Public Sector

WINNER

Arcadia Nursery, Edinburgh

Timber is expressed on the entrance facade of the nursery.
Timber is expressed on the entrance facade of the nursery.

Built for the University of Edinburgh, Arcadia Nursery was conceived as a floating, lightweight structure that could be built within a site that was restricted by extensive tree cover. The CLT structure creates a warm, tactile interior but also allows clear roof volumes to enable the creation of a mezzanine space, used by the children for quiet time. Timber acoustic ceilings soften the sound and aesthetic of each playroom, while timber cladding and wood fibre insulation envelope the building. Throughout the building, decks, walkways, feature fences and play features are all made of wood.

Designed to be a very low energy building, the nursery’s BREEAM assessment at design stage achieved a high score of 82.2% with the materials and pollution sections achieving a score of 100%. In particular, the design team went to great lengths to avoid using fire retardants and varnishes in order to ensure that the good air quality enabled by the construction methodology was not compromised by products emitting VOCs and other low-level toxicity.

The children’s spaces are filled with light, and have easy access to the outside.
The children’s spaces are filled with light, and have easy access to the outside.

The judges were impressed by intelligent use of space, which creates  natural breaks within larger groups and also allows groups to collaborate. They admired the feeling of calm and contentment – remarkable in a building for the under fives.

Architect: Malcolm Fraser Architects
Structural engineers: AED, Eurban
Main contractor/builder: Balfour Beatty
Structural frame contractor: Eurban
Joinery: MK Timber
Wood suppliers: Stora Enso, Lignatur, Lignotrend, Russwood, Natural Building Technologies
Client/owner: University of Edinburgh
Timber: Austrian spruce, Siberian larch, Scottish larch


 

 

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