Mellor Primary School wins PEFC UK-sponsored award

The Winners and Highly Commended entries of the Structural Timber Awards 2016 were revealed on Wednesday 19 October at a gala dinner held at the Birmingham National Conference Centre (formerly known as the National Motorcycle Museum) during Timber Expo and UK Construction Week.

Sponsored by PEFC UK, the Best Education Project category saw Mellor Primary School, near Stockport, designed by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects announced as the overall winner from 12 shortlisted projects. The Best Education Project category showcases schemes that have used timber technology to create exceptional buildings and vibrant learning spaces for both students and staff. The stunning school was also chosen as the Judges Choice overall winning scheme.

The extension for Mellor Primary School provides a series of ‘exciting and stimulating new spaces’ based on the school’s Forest School ethos. The extension is in effect a ‘tree house’ – a cluster of pitched roof shapes set on a deck extending out into the landscape. Tree-like glulam frames support not only the deck but also the roofs internally and canopies externally. Timber was specified as a robust and sustainable material, offering clear benefits in terms of sustainability, structural performance, durability and long-term maintenance. The judges praised Mellor Primary School for being: “An excellent scheme with an honest simple structure but importantly uses the structure as a learning resource.”

Presenting the Award, PEFC CEO and Secretary General Ben Gunneberg said:

“It is always fantastic to see the ways in which timber is used throughout the construction industry to produce such magnificent, sustainable and environmentally sound buildings. The role of PEFC-certified forests and the timber that leaves them is vitally important and this is being reflected across Europe with the levels of engineered wood used in particular on some landmark schemes.”

The Structural Timber Awards reward outstanding projects and innovative products that are promoting excellence in structural timber across the UK. Across all the 15 Awards categories, there were many examples of PEFC-certified timber being specified with cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam increasingly being adopted as a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete.

The judges also singled out two Highly Commended schemes for praise. These were Burry Port Community Primary School designed and built by Cygnum Timber Frame and Architype, that celebrated Welsh timber and is the first Passivhaus School building in Wales. Also gaining plaudits was The SchoolHouse project from Roderick James Architects: a vocational project that enabled pupils to build their own sustainable timber house at the Burlington Danes Academy in London, that included a hand-crafted structural Douglas fir (English plantation grown) frame.