Arcadia Nursery, Edinburgh
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) named 12 shortlisted buildings for their prestigious Doolan Award in 2015, choosing the buildings which they felt represented the best of current Scottish architecture. Willie Watt, President of the RIAS, commented: “65 submissions from throughout Scotland, ranging in cost from £30,000 to £26m, is a tremendous vote of confidence. It absolutely confirms that this award, in only its fourth year, is now the single most important recognition of architectural achievement in Scotland.”
As well as being shortlisted among 11 other strong candidates, Arcadia Nursery won the Wood for Good/Forestry Commission Scotland-sponsored Best Use of Timber Award.
Arcadia Nursery caters for up to 113 children at the King’s Buildings Campus at The University of Edinburgh. Two existing nursery buildings and one purpose-built facility are joined together to create the resulting structure. The nursery is designed to be a very low-energy building and uses no mechanical cooling or ventilation – this means that the materials used in the project were carefully considered, with the selected fabrics being renewable, containing low embodied energy and producing minimal carbon footprint. The BREEAM assessment in the design stage achieved a high score of 82.2%.
Craig White, the Chair of Wood for Good said: “The Wood for Good/Forestry Commission Scotland award winning project is inspiring in its imaginative use of wood throughout the building, using cross laminated timber and wood cladding for its structure and external finish with the wood interior providing a seamless connection with the external use of wood in the nursery playground. The result is a functional, attractive and welcoming series of spaces that provides the perfect environment for learning and play. Everyone connected with this project is to be congratulated”.
Natural Building Technologies provided technical support both on and offsite, woodfibre insulation products (Pavatherm-Plus and Pavaflex) as well as delivered onsite training during the installation and construction of the nursery. The materials not only deliver the high-performance outlined in the brief, but they also provide an aesthetic and atmospheric quality which promotes calm within its occupants. The purpose of the structure is to develop the children’s confidence, independence and creativity. This has been reflected in the choice of materials and their effect on the users and internal environment.
As well as winning the Wood for Good/Forestry Commission Scotland Award for the Best Use of Timber, Arcadia Nursery was the winner of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficiency Award. Marissa Lippiatt, Head of the Resource Efficient Scotland programme at Zero Waste Scotland said: “The construction sector is an important area of work for Resource Efficient Scotland. Resource efficiency is about more than simply reacting to poor environmental performance, it’s about designing to ensure that buildings not only perform efficiently in the present, but are capable of adapting to and maximising local opportunities as they arise. Malcolm Fraser Architects has demonstrated this excellently and I’m delighted to announce them as the winners of this year’s Resource Efficiency Award for their work on the Arcadia Nursery. This is an innovative design which utilised space and natural lighting, as well as effectively integrating the service requirements with existing local infrastructure.”