Burry Port Community Primary School has won not just one, but three awards for its innovative, imaginative and eco-friendly design.
The £3.8 million school, which opened in September last year, has been recognised in the prestigious RIBA Architecture Awards 2016.
It won the RSAW Welsh Architecture Award, the RSAW Sustainability Award and Andrew Tidy, Projects Delivery Team Leader within the council’s Property Design section, won the RSAW Property Architect of the Year jointly with George Mikurcik of Architype Architects, who were involved with the project via the contractor.
The school, delivered by WRW Ltd, was built as part of the council’s Modernising Education Programme, with part funding from the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools initiative.
Utilising a modular timber frame construction of sustainable Welsh timber, it is officially the first educational building in Wales the country to pass the stringent Passivhaus standard owing to its super energy efficiency features.
It is home to children aged three to 11, and also incorporates a Flying Start nursery which includes a sensory garden space for the outdoor environment which will be the first of its kind in Wales.
The judges said:
“A superb example of collaboration between the client, Carmarthenshire County Council, the architect, Archetype and the School, working together as one to achieve a high quality, inspirational educational environment for both the pupils and the staff and a source of aspiration to others.”
They added: “The design is innovative in so many ways … exuding a sense of calm and comfort, but it is clearly a place where it is easy to teach and learn, where the building itself is stimulation for the children.
“The layouts are imaginative, providing a delightful variety of spaces and volumes and atmospheres, in the classrooms, in the communal areas and in the circulation links.”
They also praised the outside space:
“Not only have the internal areas been well designed, but so too have the external spaces and the interconnections between the two. The building and its context have been considered as a whole, with great care being taken to ensure that the amenities and privacy of the neighbouring residential properties are respected as well as creating appropriately secure and imaginative on-site play and relaxation spaces for the children.”
The judges concluded:
“This is an extremely sensitive, very carefully considered building that focuses on health and wellbeing and sets the bar higher for the schools of the future. All credit to the local authority for recognizing the importance of achieving excellence of design within inevitable budget constraints. Their choice of architect was inspired, the resulting building is inspiring.”
Executive Board Member for Property Cllr Hazel Evans said:
“We are absolutely delighted that the school has been recognised in this way and I would like to congratulate Andrew and all the team involved in its design and delivery. It is an exceptional building which is enhancing the lives of both the pupils and the staff and will continue to serve generations of children to come.”