Shadowclad Texture at Inverleigh Primary School
Sympathy for the environment, lateral thinking and clever design reaped Cowland North a top prize at the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Awards this year (2000).
The Ecologically Sustainable Development award was given to architects Cowland North for a classroom block they designed for Inverleigh Primary School west of Geelong.
The design was commended for its efficient use of building materials, the low level of embodied energy in the structure, the choice of materials and many other elements. The judges also recognised the good effort required to build such an ecologically sustainable construction on such a tight Department of Education budget which allowed only $645/m2.
Neville Cowland, a director at Cowland North, said they managed to meet the budget by carefully selecting cost effective, low maintenance and durable building materials. Amongst the materials they chose was Shadowclad Texture from Carter Holt Harvey which they used for cladding and bracing.
“Shadowclad Texture allowed us to reduce the amount of timber required in the framing by 30% as it acts as bracing so we needed less studs and no additional bracing materials” Mr Cowland said. The building is located on a flood plain and the light weight of Shadowclad Texture also meant Cowland North were able reduce the amount of footings required.
Neville Cowland said he particularly liked the versatility of Shadowclad Texture which allowed them to create an interesting looking structure without incurring high costs. “It also fitted in with our philosophy to utilise materials kind to the environment – ones that don’t use high amounts of energy to produce” co-director Judith North added.
The new four room structure blends in well with the 130 year old school. So far the RAIA are not the only ones to sing its praises. Students and teachers are equally pleased with the results and along with the judges are hoping it sets the standards for schoolroom buildings in the future.