Ar­chi­tec­tural firm gives a les­son in green de­sign at In­taka Is­land class­room

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

THE NEW ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity at In­taka Is­land Visi­tors Cen­tre in Cen­tury City was of­fi­cially opened last month.

The brief for dhk ar­chi­tects was to de­sign a 50m liv­ing en­ergy class­room for vis­it­ing school groups. The class­room needed to demon­strate sus­tain­abil­ity in the built en­vi­ron­ment and how man and his struc­tures can co-ex­ist within a sus­tain­able con­text of re­spon­si­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices.

“The aim is for the build­ing it­self to be­come an ed­u­ca­tional tool,” said Peter Stokes, a di­rec­tor at dhk ar­chi­tects.

“Some of the sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­tural con­sid­er­a­tions in the de­sign in­clude the build­ing ori­en­ta­tion, with south-fac­ing glaz­ing for softer light and re­duced so­lar heat gain. The north­ern edge is solid, with a green wall ex­te­rior.”

Poly­styrene blocks were used in the con­struc­tion of the walls and the flat con­crete roof. For the ex­ter­nal walls, the poly­styrene blocks were stacked in a stag­gered and in­ter­lock­ing pat­tern, sim­i­lar to Lego blocks.

The hol­low blocks then act as per­ma­nent shut­ter­ing to the re­in­forced con­crete in­fill, while pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary in­su­la­tion.

For the roof, the poly­styrene blocks work in the same man­ner as a con­ven­tional con­crete rib-and-block sys­tem, pro­vid­ing per­ma­nent shut­ter­ing to the cast con­crete roof, as well as in­su­la­tion.

The green wall is a ver­ti­cal gar­den that soft­ens the north­fac­ing wall and will be irri- gated us­ing grey wa­ter.

Nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion is en­cour­aged through low- level in­lets and high-level out­lets on op­po­site sides of the class­room. Ad­di­tional elec­tric­ity is gen­er­ated from the roof­mounted photo voltaic pan­els that are used to power the learn­ing cen­tre. Rain­wa­ter run-off from the build­ing is col­lected and re-used or fed back into the In­taka wet­land wa­ter­ways.

“This small pro-bono project pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for dhk to help In­taka Is­land re­alise this much-needed class­room fa­cil­ity, and high­light the range of en­vi­ron­men­tal prin­ci­ples dhk seek to em­ploy where pos­si­ble across a num­ber of our larger com­mer­cial projects,” said Stokes.

HIGH AIMS: Peter Stokes next to the roof-mounted photo voltaic pan­els that are used to power the new ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity at In­taka Is­land Visi­tors Cen­tre in Cen­tury City.

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