From Cradle to Cradle
The Dutch High School Lyceum Schravenlant is the first educational building in the Netherlands designed and built after the cradle-to-cradle principles. The cradle-to-cradle philosophy is a holistic approach to consumption and construction processes seeking to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste-free, where used materials are repurposed in another product without loss of quality or creating additional waste. The Schiedam Municipality has committed to an ambitious target to reduce carbon dioxide from community buildings, to take into account how long a building is expected to be in use and to assume responsibility for what happens to it afterwards. That means that public buildings in Schiedam must be completely demountable at the end of their life cycle and materials given new life as different products. Taking these sustainability principles into account, it was first examined whether the old school building could be given a facelift, but most of the materials in the existing 1960’s structure were far from sustainable. Like other schools built in that era, the building had an old-fashioned educational structure, and the price of bringing energy consumption up to date would eventually be much higher than opting for a new-build.
“Design your school”
As the Hague-based LIAG architecten took on the project, they decided on an innovative approach that would put the needs and ideas of the 600 students at the centre of the design process. Working with the school they facilitated a 3-day project, asking the students to ‘Design your school’. The project allowed the students to visit other construction projects and come up with solutions that were presented to the other students, their parents and the municipality. These inputs were then included in LIAG’s design process. The product was a relatively small, but fully CO2 neutral building with optimal temperature regulation and clean air meeting the highest Dutch standards (Frisse Scholen Klasse A). The building is powered by 120 solar panels, the toilets are flushed with natural water, and the construction was made from re-used and recyclable building materials including 30,000 m² of acoustical stone wool tiles that create a healthy acoustical atmosphere. A long wall of reindeer moss supports the ceiling in creating a comfortable acoustical environment and regulates the humidity in the building. Including the importance of indoor climate as a part of the sustainability discussion convinced the municipality and the school board that it was crucial to invest in this field.
A healthy indoor climate with great acoustics
Thomas Bögl of LIAG architecten explains the importance of not just thinking of sustainability as a question of choosing low-impact construction materials: “A building is only sustainable if it contributes to the primary goal of its existence – in this case education. In that sense a healthy indoor climate is a must.” “An energy friendly building built with sustainable materials is not by definition a healthy building, so we also paid a lot of attention to the indoor climate of the building, where acoustics is a major parameter. If the sound levels are low, people experience less stress, which leads to a lower absence due to illness,” Bögl continues. The result is a sustainable school with optimised acoustics, future-proofed to easily accommodate the adaptation of new techniques and the flexible division of rooms. This allows the building to shrink or grow in the future and potentially fulfil other functions – for instance allowing the local community to use the sports hall and the classrooms outside of school hours.
Hugo de Grootstraat 4,
3119 HA Schiedam