I have done several projects with children and schools with Gorebridge Community Development Trust. One of these projects – Wooploft – caught the eye of a new client, Genesis (J&T) Ltd.
I am designing two additions to their Dalkeith Happy Days nursery – a dining room and a pre-school room. Happy Days is an Eco-School. All their nurseries have large grounds for the children to play in. They grow and cook their own food and generally encourage a sustainable life style.
We looked at several designs that had a strong connection to the outside. We presented the favoured one – a grass mound with ‘mushroom roof lights’ with a hobbit-style timber interior – to Midlothian Council. Given the existing nursery is a listed Georgian building the council had some issues with the design although with some revisions I suspect that they may have approved it. My client however asked me to proceed with a more conventional orthogonal design. The proposal will still have ‘tree-like’ columns, a lot of glazing and use natural materials as much as possible.
It features a small grass amphitheatre outside one of the buildings and an earth pizza oven in the other. I hope to be able to use a material which the children can experiment with such as hempcrete.