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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hazelwood School, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects push the barrier of functionality to win DesignShare Award
The goal of the US based DesignShare Awards is to find those learning environments that meet at the crossroads of innovative design and pioneering educational programs. This year the proud recipients of the award are Glasgow based Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects with Hazelwood School, the first school from Britain to win the award.

The winning design for the school that caters for children aged from 4 to 18 with severe visual, mobility and sensory impairment, is a `low slung´ building conceived as a natural free flowing form, which `meanders´ gracefully through the site respecting its existing landscape of mature lime and beech trees. Timber is the predominant structural and cladding material selected for its natural weathering qualities whilst presenting a warm and tactile surface to the children who will learn in its sustainable environment. The main circulation space features a “sensory wall”, a tactile device that allows blind children to locate their class room using the folds in the wall. A trailing board weaves through the school allows the children to practice mobility and orientation skills.

The design was the result of close consultations between the architects, the Glasgow City Council as the client and the user group through workshops, meetings and seminars. Since opening in August 2007, the school has received many positive feed back from users and supporting associations.

Attention to multi-sensory details, adaptability of the space, use of natural materials were some of the features of the design that were highly praised by the jury panel of the DesignShare Awards.

Laura Salmi
architecture NOW

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