School finds people-friendly solution to aircraft noise: David Nicholson-Lord reports on the 1993 Green Building of the Year Award, co-sponsored by the Independent on Sunday

A PRIMARY school designed to cope with jets roaring 500ft overhead every minute and drowning out lessons has won the 1993 Green Building of the Year Award, sponsored jointly by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association and the Independent on Sunday.

Grove Road school in Hounslow, west London, is under a main flight path to Heathrow airport. Not only were teachers rendered inaudible; the school is frequently sprayed with aircraft fuel.

The task facing Plincke, Leaman and Browning, the Winchester-based architects, was to cut noise without imprisoning the occupants in a sealed box. They also had to replace three old high-silled Victorian school buildings with a single unifying design.

The new school, finished in 1990, is based on the idea of an 'acoustic umbrella' and was praised by the judges for its lightness and friendliness. Wedge-shaped classrooms open like segments of a fan off a central glazed courtyard. The school is sunny and open yet intimate.

The judges, who included representatives of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Building Services Research and Information Association, chose Grove Road because of its solutions to noise pollution.

The award was presented yesterday by Judith Hann, who introduces BBC Television's Tomorrow's World, to Max Fordham, the consulting building services engineer.

As well as reducing noise levels by 35 decibels, the school is highly energy-efficient; bricks and slates from the demolished Victorian buildings were re-used. Each classroom has its own garden, with plants matching the colours of the rainbow and fences of large coloured 'pencils.'

Two buildings were highly commended by the judges. The London Wildlife Trust visitors' centre in Peckham, south London, has a living roof made of grass and wildflowers, and 'breathing walls', which create a healthier indoor environment by allowing oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through. The centre is made of timber, which consumes a quarter of the energy needed to manufacture bricks. Paints were organic, materials and finishes made from natural substances such as pine resin, beeswax and linseed oil. There are plans to recycle washing-up water on site using wind pumps and reed beds.

The offices of Peter Holden Architects, in Pembroke, Dyfed, were commended for their creation of a light, airy and healthy environment from a derelict quayside building. Stonework, beams, rafters and slates from the original building were re-used, set in a traditional lime-rich mortar to form a 'breathing skin'. Glues, stains and paints were non-toxic: linoleum was used for floors and work surfaces instead of PVC.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road