Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

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Facility of the week

North Kildare Educate Together School, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Educate Together Schools are set up and developed by groups of parents in a local area, who wish to send their children to a national school that is multi-denominational, child-centred, co-educational and democratically run. The schools are fully recognised by the Department of Education, are non-feepaying and operate under the same rules applying to all national schools.

The first custom-built, integrated primary school in Ireland, the school has ten classrooms, including two specialised teaching classrooms for children with autism. A seamless transition from the general school to the specialist classrooms for the children with autism was the central concern of those involved with this project.

The plan rotates around a central main courtyard, the classrooms acting as independent satellites, each a “studio” with its own intimate den and enclosed garden court. Brick walls, plinths and terracotta window sills are used to offer tactility and richness of colour and to define the significant public spaces within the building, such as the general purpose hall, library and garden.

The Department of Education and Science requires that schools are single storey, where possible, and are constructed in exposed concrete block work. Within these constraints, together within the strict cost limits, the architects liberated the design with a pre-cast concrete roof. The copper clad, wave-like roof, with light chimneys to each classroom, brings a spatial complexity and sense of weight to the building. A large roof light capturing the south sun opens and animates the general purpose room, which is positioned close to the main entrance and is the largest space in the school.

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About this database

The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the “Database of Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investment” on 29 September 2011. It seeks to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces, combining resources for strategic investment in educational infrastructure, with exemplary school and university facilities from all over the world.

Drawing on the output of a joint CELE/European Investment Bank project on “Strategic Investment Planning for Educational Infrastructure” and more than 60 exemplary schools and universities featured in CELE’s flagship publication, “Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”, this database is a unique international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike.

Users of the database are encouraged to add their own resource material, or submit new completed university or school projects for publication on the database. OECD and EIB welcome your input to our project!

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The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) presents the top 6 school and university buildings in ”Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”.

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