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Project - Burry Port Community Primary School
Client - Carmarthenshire County Council
Sector - Education
Architect - Cygnum Timber Frame
Technology - Timber
Funded by Welsh Government and completed under the 21st Century Schools programme, this ground-breaking project has seen Burry Port Infant and Junior Schools amalgamated into one Community Primary School providing accommodation for 210 pupils along with a 30 space nursery class and Flying Start crèche.
The refurbishment work has modernised the existing building and created large, secure, open plan classrooms incorporating multi-use space, break-out space and access to a contained and covered outdoor area. The new buildings feature innovation and sustainability along with a showcase for Welsh timber, employing homegrown Brettstapel, and a first for Passivhaus education in Wales.
The Passivhaus principles will support the school in operation by reducing utility bills by between 60% and 90% allowing the school greater flexibility to spend annual budgets. Advantages also include the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff with optimum internal conditions improving health and concentration.
The focal point of the new school is the central pod building, connecting the new and old elements of the school, with a striking elliptical building and curved covered walkway providing a multi-functional and open plan space. Finished in locally sourced Welsh grown Japanese Larch, the building is constructed using the Brettstapel method, which involves using short softwood lengths held together with hardwood dowels that swell and tighten with exchanging moisture content. The result is a solid timber panel, providing dual purpose as a load bearing wall or floor, and internal finish. The process reduces the need for intensive manufacturing methods, and eliminates the use of toxic glues or bonds.
Both new timber frame buildings, canopies and extended areas are constructed using entirely Welsh timber, demonstrating the capabilities of this resource and supply in Wales.
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