I have been working with the Transition Year students of Our Lady of Lourdes School in New Ross, Wexford, to develop an idea for a new space for learning in their school.

“A Space for Learning” is a design ideas competition initiated by the Irish Architecture Foundation to challenge current thinking on school design and architecture.

The starting point for this project was a discussion of basic Architectural concepts. The students had the opportunity to identify a number of different concepts from architectural books and magazines.

Final Submission - Panel 1

Environmentally sustainable design

Sustainability was an integral part of the design process. A number of passive solar design concepts were approached and the proposal aims to get the most from direct, indirect and isolated solar gains, as well as natural lighting and natural ventilation.

Natural lighting is reflected into the classrooms by the use of light shelves, thus reducing the need for electricity.

The green roof provides increased insulation and works as a thermal mass.

The greenhouses, below the South facing classrooms, capture solar radiation that is converted into heat. This heat is directed into the classrooms through vents that can be closed during Summer time.

Rain water is captured, stored and re-used for toilet flushing and watering within the gardens and greenhouses.

A recycling point comprising of four Moloks ® will support the sustainability strategy while maintaining an attractive and hygienic environment.

Final Submission - Panel 2


The proposal aims to contribute to a reduced carbon footprint. To achieve this goal, different systems are proposed:

 -two vertical wind turbines producing approx. 20,000kwh/year;

 -twenty-three photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity

 -a geothermal vertical system to power the underfloor heating.

An automated system provides a single point of control for lighting, heating, and cooling, for maximum efficiency. Each classroom operates independently, according to its designated schedule, so energy is not wasted in rooms that are not in use.


Between 5 and 10 selected groups will develop their design idea into an exhibition. Proposed ideas for the exhibition format had to be included in the submission.

Our final exhibition piece will allow visitors to experience the new building via a virtual world platform.

Visitors will be able to access the virtual model of our proposed building using a computer. They will be able to create their own avatar and tour around the proposed building. The software allows the same virtual world to be accessed by multiple visitors if more than one computer is available at the exhibition. It is also possible to continue this experience from the comfort of the visitor’s home, via the Internet.


Visit the Facebook Page for this project: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceForLearningInNewRoss

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