Client: Gateway Primary School – The Sustainability Building, Westminster London
Landscape Design and Construction: Bartholomew Landscaping
Award: Winner of a British association of Landscape Industries principal award for Community and Schools Development and the special award for best design and build project.
The starting point
The head teacher of Gateway School, Louisa Lochner, first appointed Bartholomew Landscaping as design and build contractors in 2009 and phase 1 of the project was completed in 2010. In 2011 we were invited back to look at installing a sustainability classroom in place of a derelict toilet block and revitalising the playgrounds of the Reception and Nursery classes. Mrs. Lochner’s brief was to create an outdoor teaching space where the children could learn about sustainability and growing their own plants in a totally different learning environment. The school had an outdoor brick built toilet that was no longer used.
Bartholomew Landscaping prepared a brief and initial sketch design that was presented to the school, in the form of a 3D model and fly through movie. The school was extremely impressed with the ideas but Following discussions with Westminster Council Bartholomew Landscaping had to apply for planning permission for the sustainability greenhouse. The actual timber frame and glass was supplied by Gabriel Ash but the installation and all of the other works were completed by Bartholomew Landscaping employees. The class room was made large enough to accommodate a whole class and includes bespoke work benches with blackboard doors accessing storage cupboards below. The building has a solar panel and wind turbine that have been located so that the children can see power being made. The power created is stored in batteries that are used to power heaters that prevent the plants from being damaged by frost. Water harvesting barrels and compost bins were located to encourage recycling. Raised planting beds with flowers and vegetables and digging space were located around the building and some existing planting.
Once planning permission was granted work started on the installation a few weeks later. Bartholomew Landscaping carefully demolished the toilet block and fenced of the areas of construction during the works so that the school could maintain access across the site safely and operate normally at all times. The majority of the works with the exception of the demolitions were undertaken during term time it was felt that it was important that the children could see the work in progress and understand what is involved in building things. The children were able to watch progress from the safety of their class rooms and from behind transparent fencing. Bartholomew landscaping employees were introduced to the pupils and talked to them about the project.
Encouraging pupils to plant their own areas through the use of educational planting beds has proved a great success and the school achieved a special award from the London Childrens Flower Society presented by Alan Titmarsh for their garden. The school says
“Ever since Eco-Club began, the children have taken great care and responsibility for their Eco-Classroom and its garden. For example, they have watered their plants and seeds very well and they have grown beautiful healthy fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, juicy strawberries, fresh mint and tomatoes. As you enter the attractive garden, the sweet aroma of the fruits zooms into your nose! Furthermore, Eco-Club children are collecting rain water in a large barrel and intend to use this to water their plants – they certainly do care about the environment! Gateway children have also been saving energy by using solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity. The Eco-Club is working successfully towards becoming a sustainable school and we are all proud to see them reach their goals.Eco-club will continue their tremendous effort to maintain a sustainable garden and we hope that they will win even more awards in the future.”