UK architecture practice Architype has won a £23m (€26m) contract to create the first Passivhaus all-through school in Machynlleth, Wales.
The company will create the first Passivhaus all-through school in Wales by rebuilding Ysgol Bro Hyddgen on the existing structure’s playing fields. The new 6,500m2 facility will be suitable for pupils from nursery through to college education, and is expected to be completed in September 2020.
The Welsh-language school’s existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with car parking and sports facilities following the construction of the new structure, which will include a brand new synthetic football pitch.
What impact will Passivhaus design have on the school?
Architype, alongside engineering company WSP and contractors Dawnus Construction, developed its low-cost Passivhaus model in line with Welsh Government standards. The overhaul of Ysgol Bro Hyddgen will be the sixth school project built by the company to the Passivhaus standard, and would be the first to accommodate students from nursery to sixth form.
The Passivhaus standard means that heat losses from buildings are reduced through insulation, and that waste heat from household appliances or heat collected from the sun can cover much of the heating demand that remains. This means that such buildings use very little energy for heating and cooling, minimising their ecological impact.
What have stakeholders said about the first Passivhaus all-through school in Wales?
The Passivhaus design of the project won the approval of Powys County Council for the Architype proposal, and the company’s associate director, Lee Fordham, said that the standard is earning a “growing enthusiasm … amongst local authorities in Wales”. The English city of Norwich has begun construction on a Passivhaus social housing project, which demonstrates the ongoing interest in the standard.
Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, who represents education at the council, welcomed the opportunity for the school to become more energy efficient and sustainable while highlighting innovative design principles: “Powys County Council are delighted to announce our ambitious plans for education in Machynlleth. The education communities have already embraced the advantages of an all-through school and this new delivery model will in future take place in Wales’ first Passivhaus through school.”