Greening Schools: Future Proofing Schools Competition award goes to CMA+U

Courtesy of CMA+U

The University of Melbourne together with partners including the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development have just announced CMA+U and Team winners of the Sustainability Award ʻFuture Proofing Schools Competitionʼ Australia. The competition explores design ideas for next generation relocatable 21st century learning spaces as part of Australia’s research program for Building the Education Revolution. More images and information on the awarded project after the break.

CMA+U’s submission is based on the concept of click-learning to extend learning landscapes. Click-Learn modules enable adaptable customization to the specifics of climate and site. The CNC fabricated timber system can be combined with prefab concrete or steel base structures as required and flat-pack delivered for rapid onsite assembly. Click-Learn structure integrates wall storage and shelving at multiple levels provides display & integrates data/light-track. Pods provide services, and intimate learning spaces. Structural Insulated Panel roof and wall cladding enables quick assembly and flexible adaptation with solid or glazed panels within the same frame. Powder coated metal/ timber panels bring bright fun colour choices or natural finishes. External roof/ wall louvers provide second skin for hot and humid climates.

Courtesy of CMA+U

The depth of the click-weave structure allows for super insulated building fabric, thermal mass is added through composite timber/concrete floors or water tanks. Additional click weave awnings are added to improve summer shading, or act as a fly roof in very hot climates – this increases the area available for solar-thermal collectors / PV panels. The flexible space created assists in blurring the line between a controlled inside environment and a more responsive outside while also helping to tie the pod to the landscape. The combination of passive ventilation strategies via the building and landscaping maintain a comfortable learning environment without the need for active heating or cooling. The use of factory fabricated building elements reduces material waste and the whole building can be constructed from renewable, certified (e.g. FSC) timber. Water is collected for re-use within the building and landscape.

Courtesy of CMA+U

The landscape strategies are based on traditional techniques, natural systems generate airflow, modify temperature and habitat for a rich learning landscape eg edible walls and kitchen gardens integrate internal/external learning from nature. Cool courts are densely planted/ shaded to create a cool-sink and provide protection from the sun. Hot courts with hard paving draws cool air from adjacent cool courts. Positioning of buildings and courts is adapted to each particular school site situation.

Courtesy of CMA+U

The spatial logic is laid out in warp and weft zones for services, flexible areas, quiet areas, or outside play are woven into a spatial-carpet. Learning activity can switch modes by utilizing different spatial zones. Students can switch between informal self-learning and formal processes using these zones to enrich learning experiences. The building typology, together with appropriate teaching support, can be tuned to specific needs. Click-Learn architecture is itself a fun explorative educational system designed to encourage discovery and help students “see” deeper environmental processes of performance feedback and learn how to tune them in real-time.


Architects: CMA+U Design Team: Luke Engleback – studio engleback, (UK); Patrick Arnold – eCubed Building Workshop, (NZ); Jaap Dankert – computer architecture, (NL) With support from Chris Winwood (NZ), Matt Jackson (NZ) and Liz Kingsford (NZ)

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Cite: Alison Furuto. "Greening Schools: Future Proofing Schools Competition award goes to CMA+U" 07 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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