Robert Bourke Architects (RBA) have won a competition to design a series of innovative outdoor learning spaces for a primary school in Skerries, County Dublin.
RBA’s winning strategy was to use a portion of the budget to build a simple, timber classroom structure and to use the remainder to create ‘natural’ learning landscape of hills, dips and clearings.
RBA were one of the winning teams in the Irish Architecture Foundation’s (IAF) A Space for Learning competition and exhibition in 2010 and were commissioned by the IAF in 2012 to carry out the Place Shapers urban design project in Blanchardstown, west Dublin. Using their experience from such projects, the architects will employ similar teaching and investigative methods with the students in Skerries through a series of workshops aimed at examining the site, locating the classroom and designing parts of the structure.
The open-walled classroom will be built from native Irish douglas fir and larch on a lightweight timber substructure. The landscape will follow the existing slope of the site with two new hills to enclose an outdoor amphitheater for play and performances. Other features, which will be added in phases, will include a pond, willow maze, orchard and horticulture garden. In keeping with the school’s desire to create a rich learning environment, the students, teachers and parents will all be involved in the planting and upkeep of the learning landscape on an ongoing basis.