If we are going to create new facilities to house students and researchers, architects of the future must demonstrate what has been learnt, that sustainably designed facilities will stimulate learning, without bringing harm to the world around us.

The Sustainability Awards’ Education & Research category is the showcase for entrants who submit a child care centre, preschool, primary, secondary or tertiary educational facility or a facility where an educational institution is a partner. Winners of the category typically provide students and researchers the best possible opportunity to be at their best at all times, while ensuring the materials and methods used to create and operate the space are empathetic towards the wider world. 

betti & knut architecture’s solution for classroom typology, titled s.e.e.d, was named the winner of the category in 2022. 

The challenge was to rethink the very established Australian ‘demountable’ which features throughout most schools in Australia, and achieve a modern solution aligned to our strong advocacy for sustainability. The goal was to build sustainable portable classrooms at a cost and time frame equivalent to traditional portable classrooms and attain the International Passivehouse Standard using timber as the primary construction material.

The result is s.e.e.d.; a prototype for a new s-ustainable e-nvironmental ed-ucation space and the antidote to traditional demountables.

Each mass timber classroom was preassembled off site, craned into place in five modules and installed in less than 90 minutes per building. Designed and constructed to the International Passivehouse Standard, the classrooms allow for filtered, clean air and thermal comfort year-round, while reducing heating and cooling demands by 90 per cent.

The use of timber counteracts humidity levels to reabsorb humidity during wet weather and release in dry weather, naturally helping to create a balanced indoor comfort. It also connects the buildings to the surrounding bushland setting.

Clean and fresh filtered air is supplied within the Passivehouse envelope through Heat Recovery Ventilation units which maintain a constantly comfortable room temperature. Not only beneficial in hot and cold months or to students with asthma and allergies, HRV units are valuable additions throughout the bushfire season and help keep CO2 levels below a critical 800 ppm in all classrooms.

WoodSolutions are the Proud Sponsor of the Adaptive Reuse (alteration/addition) category at the 2022 Sustainability Awards. It’s all in a name for the company, who believes wood (or timber) can provide a solution to our carbon woes. WoodSolutions is a major advocate for adaptive reuse, and believes timber is one of the most adaptable and reusable materials at an architect’s disposal.

The stage is most certainly set. We will officially crown the winner of the Education & Research category at the 2023 Sustainability Awards at a ceremony in Sydney on November 11. To grab your ticket or to find out more regarding the awards, head to sustainablebuildingawards.com.au.