Monday, April 25, 2011

Award Winning, Green UAE School is a Living, Breathing Blackboard Jungle

Apr 24, 2011

Where once Liwa International School had been an ageing, non-descript concrete block nearly two decades old, now it has come alive, the concrete hidden beneath a mane of 35,000 plants. The only visible gaps in the foliage are the windows. The transformation was the idea of a group of 12th-grade students. For a class project, Alyazia al Me'mari and four of her friends sketched plans for an environmentally friendly school. Little did they expect, as they submitted their plans to an energy summit last year that the project would be so enthusiastically seized upon by the principal. He, along with the school board, decided to put it into action. The school has installed 102 solar panels on the roof and reuses "grey" water for irrigation. "We collect all grey water, from bathrooms, in two tanks. It goes through a filtering system for treatment, until it becomes good for irrigation. And we test it every few week”. The "breathing" walls increase the oxygen level around the school, and attract birds. And the solar panels generate enough electricity to keep the school campus lit through the night. The school is quieter, too, with the foliage acting as a sound baffle. It reduces temperature, saves energy, reduces carbon dioxide around the school, and has a social effect on students.


I met an interesting man the other day with wonderful, exciting ideas for schools here. He designs schools and wants to make big changes here to the prison block design to encourage learning and potential. And why not be eco-friendly too. I hope he gets to the right ears.

Bond Bryan Architects for Education

Bond Bryan specialise in creating places for learning. With expert staff and great depth of education architectural design experience, we are well equipped to guide clients on projects from inception through to completion. At the heart of our work is our client’s educational vision and the learner’s experience.

The design of places for learning needs to develop from the Education and Learning need and the engagement of students in the process. Spaces should allow teachers to improve the performance students.

Bond Bryan explore what makes a good place for learning and what kind of places need to be developed to raise educational standards and achievement. Bond Bryan has developed a process called “My Space for Learning” which has been very successful in developing innovative and exciting learning places.

Bond Bryan have spent a lot of time developing an understanding the physiology and psychology of space and place and the affects of colour, light, sound, views, touch, smell and time have on the experience of a space. We recognise students respond to sensory stimuli within the environment and the spaces that we design.

Understanding this and how students learn, we can design of the optimal learning environment, which responds better to the individual’s needs. We develop learning environments for the future – transforming the experience from one of mediocrity to one that engages and inspires – makes students want to learn and promotes ambition.

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