Sustainable nursery facilities
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Sustainable nursery facilities

New purpose-designed nursery

Organisation : UEL Nursery

Building Use : Education

Product : Cabins, Modular Buildings

Location : Docklands Campus

Requirement :

A new, purpose-designed nursery building was required for the University of East London's Docklands campus.

Solution :

Built by Portakabin (Refurbished) and designed by architects Arts Lettres Techniques, the Children's Garden Early Years Centre was constructed from recycled and refurbished building modules.

The nursery facility demonstrates the potential and flexibility of this innovative approach to sustainable construction. The centre was designed to create a calm and welcoming environment for children aged between three and six. It is located in a landscaped educational garden and is clad in untreated Scottish larch, which helps to integrate the building into the streetscape.

Windows overlooking the garden provide a high level of natural light and the interior is designed to be free from reception desks, corridors and signage to simplify the children's experience. The architect's specification required angled walls for the playrooms, bespoke geometric furniture and colour-washed surfaces for the different areas of activity.

The building is naturally cross-ventilated and additional insulation was used to further improve acoustic performance and thermal efficiency.

The use of pre-owned modular buildings, which are fully compliant with Building Regulations, generates less than 10 per cent of the carbon emissions and uses less than 3 per cent of the energy during construction compared to a newly manufactured building of equivalent size.

"The Portakabin (Refurbished) team was highly professional throughout, knowledgeable and easy to work with. They have a good supply chain in place and an excellent spirit of co-operation. The nursery is one of three construction projects that Portakabin (Refurbished) has now completed for our University."

"The centre met Ofsted requirements without any adaptation to the design, and provides an attractive new facility, which has been well received by staff, children and parents alike. The finished building is a credit to the design and construction team."

Peter Thompson, Assistant Head of Capital Projects at University of East London

"We found the pre-owned modular approach to be a highly sustainable alternative to new build, delivering a high quality building within the client's budget constraints."

"As a practice, we believe sustainability is a key issue which is increasing in importance. This method of construction is a very positive way of reducing the building's carbon footprint. The nursery is detailed to feel robust, substantial and is aesthetically pleasing. It is also very difficult to tell this is a modular building – all in all a very successful project."

Luisa Auletta, Project Architect, Arts Lettres Techniques

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