School of Construction Trades / EBBA
School of Construction Trades / EBBA
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Text description provided by the architects. EBBA has worked with the London Legacy Development Corporation on an exciting project to create a building skills learning centre. In collaboration with CITB and TFL, the construction school offers the opportunity for people to be sponsored through hands-on education and training. Phase 1 of the Building Skills School was completed in the summer of 2021. EBBA contributed to the realization of the project after being appointed to design the Olympic Park project. The public scheme, which will be run by the Construction Industry Training Council and Skills Centre, is expected to run for the next 4 years and will provide valuable skills based on ‘hands-on’ learning to local people in the region.
The brief requested an innovative and sustainable solution for the cladding of three blocks of classrooms on the site, to be built in two phases. Requirements included the need for limited maintenance and sufficient flexibility for the design to accommodate repurposed cabins donated to the project. Additionally, the design brief sought ideas for the landscaping around the site and its treatment of the boundary of this edge of the park, which provides a gateway for people approaching Hackney Wick.
The ambition was to create an active facade allowing to see the activities inside the construction skills center while creating a building responding to the evolution of the area. The strong visual language helps create a marker that delineates the edge and diffuses the conditions between the industrial views to the north and the scenic natural scenes along the canal.
EBBA wanted to create a living architecture that would reflect the activities of its occupants. Using their experience working on low cost projects to develop a strategy that could achieve a high quality and refined result with very simple means. For EBBA, it is important to be attentive to the creation of all types of buildings, even those for temporary use, because they have an essential role in the development of territories and can delight those who live in them.
The success of the project was being able to create an identity for the site that connects to a manufacturing idea and relates directly to the training school. The architecture suffers from the loss of the assembly experience and the intention was for this to be readable in the final result. We wanted to see an expression of a lot of things done as a way to connect to the site. EBBA’s involvement in the project included producing large-scale models and prototypes that helped ensure the project could be completed and delivered within budget, as well as working with qualified manufacturers to see the project come to fruition.
The language of the frames and screens designed to easily cover the exterior of the cabins makes it possible to feel and understand that the building is made up of an assembly of components. The cabins were repurposed and needed a simple way to streamline each of the elevations so they read as a complete building. The repetitive system makes it possible to adapt to the spacing of the windows of the different cabins while allowing rapid installation.
Additionally, the design addresses the organization of the site as a group of buildings so that they can be read cohesively from different vantage points. A playful composition of different screen densities alternate between open and closed depending on whether they are elevations facing outwards or inwards. This results in less material being used for the elevations that overlook the courtyard space. Overall, the ambition was to create a temporary system that could be easily dismantled, recycled and reused at the end of its life.