For 3 years, we have supported British schools in the international ‘School of the Future’ competition.
The annual competition strengthens public awareness of the importance of well-planned, healthy, sustainable school buildings that enhance student and teacher performance and contribute to community culture and vitality.
The competition is sponsored by CEFPI and the National Association of Realtors® in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and more than 20 other associations and private companies.
In 2011, Accrington Academy wowed US professionals at the CEFPI Annual Conference in San Jose, California when they entered their ‘Eco Classroom’ project, and were presented with an award which recognised their outstanding contribution to design.
In 2012, Highfield Humanities College, Blackpool travelled to Washington DC and won the Award of Distinction for their Ocean Observatory design, an innovative school design embedded in the sand dunes of Blackpool.
This month, four students from Tauheedul Islamic Boys School, Blackburn travelled to Pittsburgh and once more brought home the Award of Distinction for their ‘School of Mine’ design, a STEM focused facility built on an abandoned coal mine, rethinking the existing landscape and truly embracing “renew, reuse, recycle” in creating their sustainable building. The team exemplified great social understanding with the integration of multi-cultures as one of their highest goals. Their strong research and grasp of sustainable features and systems was exceptional. Utilising rammed earth constructions, a recycled oil rig infrastructure, hydro-electric energy, wind turbines, nitrogen generation, thermo-chromic glass and rainwater harvesting, the students created a unique learning environment incorporating flexible space to support project-based learning and collaboration with local businesses. Adding a spot of humour, they included “people-energy” using turbine tennis shoes as a power source, offering the community recreation privileges in exchange for their hours of turbine production.
The boys and their peers will be studying the Design Engineer Construct! qualification this September, and the experience in the USA can only help reinforce their knowledge of sustainable design and engineering. We look forward to seeing them all again in the Autumn term.