HLM were appointed by the London Borough of Brent to lead the design of the sustainable Preston Manor Primary School in just over 12-months – a timescale that required novel approaches to both the supply of materials and work on site.
Timber features heavily throughout HLM’s design. The primary school has two distinct areas: the teaching blocks, made up of a series of standard boxes constructed in CLT panels; and the main halls, comprising a mixture of concrete retaining walls and CLT and glulam structures. PEFC certification guarantees that all timber is sourced from ecological, economical and socially-responsible forests.
CLT panels were chosen because of their negative carbon rating and low embodied energy, meeting the sustainable brief required by the client. The material is well-suited for use in primary schools, being of a high quality and visually attractive, while the ability to prefabricate means whole buildings can be constructed quickly.
The use of offsite manufacture and standardised timber components allowed HLM to meet the tight construction programme. To save time the CLT panels were fabricated while initial foundation work was carried out on site, ensuring that the walls and roof could be quickly installed. Precision cutting the panels contributed to the high energy efficiency and good thermal performance of the buildings which, when coupled with an innovative ventilation system, ensures a high level of temperature control for the occupants. This also enhanced acoustic details, ensuring a close and tight fit of components.
Adding to the energy efficiency, the main hall roof has been fitted with a photovoltaic system that generates at least 20 per cent of the school’s electricity. The roof also includes a green sedam layer and a rain water attenuation system.
Due to its natural aesthetic properties, a number of timber panels have been treated with fire retardant lacquer and left exposed to provide a visual reminder of the raw material.
The result is a visually-appealing and high-quality school that has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.