The Four Dwellings Primary School

Troldtekt, Four Dwellings Primary School
Photo: Alex de Rijke and dRMM Architects

The Four Dwellings Primary School in Birmingham, designed by architects dRMM, was built as part of the UK Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme to provide a much needed replacement school. It is constructed with a range of materials that not only express its prefabricated engineered timber construction but complement each other aesthetically and contribute greatly to student comfort and superior teaching and learning performance.

For example, extensive use has been made of Troldtekt ceiling panels in the study areas and library which need to be quiet, calm and healthy as well as in all the classrooms. They are also installed in the play areas and sports hall which, in schools particularly, can be very noisy. The panels were specified because they offer several benefits including high sound absorption, high durability, breathability, low cost life cycle performance and contributes to a sustainable indoor climate.

The compact elliptical form of the three storey school is a great example of how the architects chose to explore the planning and potential of prefabricated engineered timber.

Designed from the inside out, the school focuses on the typical day of the student with a determination to extend learning both to internal informal learning zones as well as to the outdoors. Paired classrooms surround a central daylit hall, forming an elliptical plan with clusters of four classrooms served by breakout spaces defined by furniture and display. Each cluster has its own localised landscape which extends the learning beyond the classroom walls. As a result, pupil learning beyond the classroom thereby consists of not only group and individual activities in a free-plan space between classrooms and a central hall but also outside for learning through landscape and project based work.

The use of Troldtekt panels in this project is typical of their specification in many other European schools, leisure centres and swimming pools where excessive noise can be a problem. The panels have proved to provide one of the very best acoustic solutions.