St Luke’s CE Primary School
Commercial & Public Access Highly Commended 2009
Building Owner: Diocese of Lichfield
Building/Main Contractor: Thomas Vale
Structural Engineers: Price & Myers
Other Associated Company: New World Timber Frame
Wood Species: Douglas Fir (external cladding, UK), Western Red Cedar (roof shingles, Canada)
St Luke’s is a new, radical, all timber construction, primary school for 450 children located in Wolverhampton. It is designed to achieve a very high standard of sustainability, including very low energy consumption, sustainably sourced materials and BREEAM Excellent.
The extensive and integrated use of timber is a fundamental part of the sustainability strategy, and certified timber is specified throughout. Timber is used in every aspect of the construction, including:
- prefabricated timber frame panels (external and internal walls, intermediate floors, and roofs)
- glulam columns and beams to create large span spaces
- timber cladding to all external walls
- cedar roof shingles
- triple glazed timber windows
- extensive use of exposed timber internally
- hardwood external furniture
Specifically the following timber products are used:
- 300mm Steico timber I-beams for external wall panels, 400mm Steico timber I-beams for intermediate floor and roof cassettes, fully filled with Warmcell recycled cellulose insulation. I beams are used to reduce thermal bridging softwood timber glulams
- solid timber internal studwork
- Paneline & Panelvent timber sheathing to external walls and roofs
- untreated UK grown Douglas Fir cladding, fixed on untreated softwood battens
- Western Red Cedar shingles, Blue Label, Five X, US origin, fire treated
- timber windows by Swedish Timber Products & Menck Fenster
- wall and ceiling linings – birch faced ply, hit and miss softwood ceiling battens; joinery – oak stairs, beech handrails; birch faced ply furniture; ply dado; ply skirtings; ply cills and architraves
The use of timber is complemented by the specification of a range of other sustainable materials including linoleum and rubber flooring, recycled carpet, entrance matting made from recycled car tyres, and natural organic timber finishes.
The form and section of the building is carefully designed reduce energy consumption by maximising natural daylighting and passive ventilation, and carefully controlling solar gain. Particular attention was given to reducing thermal bridging in the construction and to achieving excellent airtightness – with an air test result of 2.12 a/c / hour at 50pascals. Heating is by means of underfloor heating powered by a biomass woodchip boiler.
The building was designed through a dynamic process of user consultation which creatively engaged children, staff, parents, head teacher and governors in a series of design workshops. This led to a radical agenda and plan for the building in which a whole series of specialist rooms and corridors are organised into shared activity hub spaces around which the classrooms are grouped.
The £6.2million new school building is seen as a flagship project, at the heart of the regeneration of Blakenhall, an inner city area close to Wolverhampton centre. A new neighbourhood centre, designed with the same extensive use of timber is commencing on site on an adjacent site in July.