A new offsite panelised system designed by architects Studio Anyo’s has been specified for the construction of a new horticultural education project.
Part funded by a Sir Roger De Haan charity, the initiative will see a new all-weather classroom constructed at Folkestone Academy for Key Stage 3 pupils, who will use the facility to participate in weekly horticultural and environmental science lessons as part of their regular studies.
The building, specifically created to support the education of horticulture in an eco-friendly low impact design, will be constructed from timber and pre-fabricated off site in panelised sections to minimise disruption at the academy and increase the speed of the final build.
Designed to industrial agricultural warehouse standards with the capacity for classroom growing stations to provide hands-on experience for pupils, the building supports the three strands of the Academy’s Green Plan: carbon reduction, re-wilding and climate education.
Also featuring photovoltaic roof installations to enable the classroom to be self-powered as well as demonstrate climate reduction strategies, the project will be a critical element in Folkestone Academy becoming a flagship eco-school and leading on local educational initiatives.
Studio Anyo has created an ambitious, contemporary building that will also provide new opportunities for engagement with the local community as well as mental health and wellbeing groups.
During school holidays, it will serve as a base for horticulture themed holiday clubs for children from disadvantaged backgrounds – children who become more vulnerable during holiday periods will be targeted together with those who are least likely to have access to outdoor space when at home.
CEO of Studio Anyo, James Walsh, who has overseen the design and development of the new classroom, said: “We are delighted to be working on this unique project, which sees the benefits that offsite and MMC can bring to education buildings. It shows how we can keep our carbon footprint as small as possible and work with subcontractors to deliver advanced construction projects.
“As architects, we always want to see the creation of ground-breaking developments that will leave a long-lasting legacy. This project will undoubtedly have a big impact and contribute to a positive change for Folkestone Academy.”
Pupils in Key Stage 4 and 5 will also access accredited qualifications in a range of horticultural disciplines in partnership with local agri-businesses and college partners, the EKC group.
Turner Schools CEO, Seamus Murphy, who commissioned the project to bring environmental science and horticulture to life in Folkestone, said: “During lockdown I had time to reflect on the challenges facing our pupils in the 21st century and identified a significant gap in their learning- having a practical understanding of the environment around them. Hence the commission from Studio Anyo to design a 21st century flexible and sustainable learning space for our pupils.”
Steve Shaw, head of school at Folkestone Academy, added: “The new building will prove hugely beneficial to our plans to offer a great range of practical outdoor learning for our pupils. We also see this becoming a flagship building for promoting environmental issues and highlighting careers and progression opportunities in the horticulture and environmental science industries.”