An Iron Age-inspired eco-class could connect students to the past if plans are approved.
The unique structure of a reading school was proposed to help students learn about sustainability, provide an informal outdoor space for vulnerable students while meeting social distancing requirements.
Wren School, which opened in 2015 after a shortage of secondary places in the area, applied for a building permit to construct an Iron Age-inspired eco-class building on its grounds.
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The idea of the new Bath Road School classroom is to “connect with the past while building a sustainable future”.
In pre-bid discussions, Reading Borough Council planners supported the plan in principle, saying: “The proposal represents an excellent opportunity to meet Reading’s climate goals, while improving educational provision for young people.
But they added: “Care must be taken to ensure that development is compatible with its educational framework and to mitigate the impact on trees and archeology.”
Students were first educated in temporary buildings before a new school was built on the site, which opened in February 2019.
Eco-class ‘Rotunda roundhouse’
Le Wren says that the eco-class “rotunda rotunda”, which would have a disabled access ramp, is part of his inclusive vision.
The school’s statement of values reads: “Every child, regardless of their background, will receive a world-class education and will be encouraged, stimulated and inspired to aim high. “
The eco-class will serve as:
- An on-site educational resource for sustainability
- A wellness center offering counseling, group sessions and 1-2-1 therapeutic work with a particular focus on disadvantaged or vulnerable students
- An informed working class for existing students
The design and materials of the new classroom “aim to inspire a highly sustainable design that integrates well with the environment and existing school infrastructure.”
The classroom will be located on currently unused woodlots south of the school’s Sunken Garden.
The location was chosen because it does not obstruct the playground or traffic routes through the school site.
The new classroom will not increase the number of students in the school, as the building will be used by existing students.
What is the connection with the iron age of the wren?
In the Iron Age, the school site would have had several rotunda structures.
The school says the circular design “lends itself well to being the contemporary version of Iron Age rotundas, creating a connection to the past while building a sustainable future.”