Natural net zero nursery completes for Staffordshire University
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
New facility to encourage outdoor learning
A new net zero nursery designed by Tenderstream member Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) has completed at Staffordshire University. Set adjacent to a woodland, but close to the city centre, the new on-campus nursery is intended to be a sustainable place of early years learning with a connection to the immediate landscape and nature reserve.
The nursery includes an observational suite with leading digital technology to facilitate applied learning for trainee teachers, social workers and University students. The associated forest school will provide an independent space for 24 children, aged 3 to 7 years, to engage in outdoor learning activities that develop skills and knowledge not possible in the traditional classroom.
The building is formed from two single storey wings enclosing a garden. Clad in thermally treated timber, it connects with the adjacent trees and woodland whilst providing privacy and protection from the neighbouring road and student accommodation. A covered colonnade links the classrooms and enhances the connection between classrooms and landscape, while the exposed timber and natural finishes continue inside to help set a calm atmosphere within the learning spaces.
The designs seek to achieve zero carbon, both in construction and in-use. Pre-fabricated timber cassettes and simple timber beams create teaching spaces that are naturally lit and ventilated by distinctive roof lights. Low windows, recessed seating and external benches aim to animate the building at child height, creating spaces to explore and connect with the outside. The garden encourages curiosity, adventure and child-led learning, through planting, textures and natural materials. Inside, low windows, recessed seating and external benches encourage the children to explore and connect with the outside.
Simon Branson, FCBStudios partner, stated: "The nursery has a seamless connection with its woodland setting, supporting an adaptable and holistic learning environment that can encourage education through nature, play and adventure. Using a highly insulated pre-fabricated timber structure for the construction, plentiful north and west light from the rooflights and natural ventilation, it not only has a low impact on the environment but a connection to it, allowing its users to benefit to the utmost."
Tenderstream Head of Research
This tender was first published by Tenderstream on 02.08.2022 here