A School for the Future

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INTRODUCTION

IPS has now been in its new building since September 2010. Time in which we have discovered what works and what needs improving. Many of the sustainable design concepts have had to be learnt and require a little planning rather than coming in, in the morning and flicking a switch on or off as the case may be.

We have made a great deal of improvements to the facilities over this time, not least the addition of two artificial grass pitches, two play areas covered with large shade sails and the fixing of sun blinds outside all south facing classrooms to allow the teachers to use their external areas even in the height of summer.

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The Atrium, to our surprise, has been the biggest success story. We have held Art exhibitions, PTA evening events, Carol concerts, Children’s performances and hosted visiting orchestras in the space. Hindsight being such a wonderful thing, if we had realised what we would or could have done with the space we might have designed it differently. A meeting area, a parent coffee area and with all classrooms leading off from the atrium, it is the focus and hub of the school. We hope it will continue to develop and be used by everyone in this way.

We have also added a basketball and tennis court and the PTA have very generously funded the pond area designed by the children of Year 6 and Reception.

The building of Phase II - a multi-purpose pavillion for both sports and theatre productions is still a few years away but the 10,000m2 we have at the moment is perfectly adequate for all the needs of our 280 Primary aged children we have at the moment.

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LOCATION

Rua da Lagoa 171, Bicesse, 2645-344 Alcabideche.

The Google map shows the plot close to Cascais Shopping, Quinta da Patino, Makro, just off the main Estrada de Manique road from Alcabediche to Manique. This road is scheduled for improvement sometime in the future.

Access from Cascais is good and is improving with the construction of various link roads around the new Cascais Hospital. The bypass around Alcabideche will eventually link to the Estrada de Manique with an extension which is currently being constructed from the roundabout near Quinta da Patino.

Access from the A5 will be 5 minutes from Junction 9 either through Bicesse or along Avenida de Republica past the Estoril Golf Club and Quinta Patino as if you were coming from Estoril.

 

DESIGN and PHILOSOPHY

July_2011_171A school of today is of course many things to many people. We at IPS believe that creating the right environment, not only benefits the way children learn and play but also influences the staff, parents and visitors. The architects brief was to maintain the same unique atmosphere we had in our previous buildings (two large town houses) whilst creating light, modern, safe areas for children to work and play in. The resulting design, with many of the classrooms, in separate 'houses', centered around a main administration block, results in almost a 'village' feeling.

A Primary school is often the first time children leave their parents or attend any kind of formal education. It is important to create an atmosphere that is safe, friendly, conducive to learning, and age appropriate. Parents often say that they are surprised how many children attend IPS. Even though we are small, splitting the site creates specific areas for each age group. Children are able to develop confidence by being comfortable within their surroundings and within their own peer group.

We were fortunate that the dimensions of the site actually helped us with this philosophy and were able to utilise the length of the plot to design individual classroom blocks for each age group. First phase saw the construction of six blocks containing two classrooms each with the possibility of an expansion of two more blocks.

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LiderA CERTIFICATION – sustainable assessment system

We feel strongly at IPS that we and our children should be aware of environmental issues and wanted the new building to reflect this. We have undertaken to follow the guiding principles expressed in the LiderA assessment and will undertake an assessment for certification when the project is finished.

The LiderA is a voluntary system for assessment of sustainable construction in recognition of the way the project has been managed and designed, is being constructed and finally will be utilised. It is known under a number of different names in many countries, for instance the BREEAM Environmental Assessment Method in the UK.

The most widely accepted definition was the one presented by Charles Kibert in 1994, which defines Sustainable Building as "the responsible creation and management of a healthy built environment, taking in account ecological principles and an efficient resource usage".

With this in mind we have endeavoured to use a varity of sustainable technologies, the following being just a few examples;July_2011_230

Trombe walls in the Classrooms – these are used for air circulation and for thermal comfort. Air is heated by the sun in a southern exposed cavity, drawing in cool air from the classroom through holes in the bottom of the wall and releasing it back into the classroom through holes in the top of the wall.

Green roofs (literally gardens on top of the roof) for the classrooms – once again helps the thermal properties inside the classrooms.

An ETFE roof (as used in the Eden project in the UK and the Dolce Vita Shopping Centre in Amadora) for the atrium – has created a large open space with plenty of natural light. The ETFE is much thinner and lighter than glass allowing for greater spans and smaller supporting struts.

Solar Panels are used for both heating north facing rooms which do not get the benefit of the more southerly path of the sun and for heating water throughout the school.

Finally, we are using a system known as ‘Solar spots’ to bring natural lighting into the library so as not to continuously rely on artificial florescent lights.

THE DETAILS: