Photo: Mesterfjellet School by SPINN Arkitekter in Larvik, Norway; Photo by Jiri Havran
From designing furniture to building single-family homes and everything in between, wood is often used for its many beneficial qualities, like structural performance, sustainability, durability and aesthetic appeal. Recently, architects have started using the popular building material for its proven health benefits, as well.
According to a report from Planet Ark, introducing wooden structures to urban environments can result in positive psychological and physiological effects for building residents, guests and the community in general. One of the most significant findings of the report states that students who work in schools or classrooms built with more wood have lower heart rates and stress responses than those working in classrooms featuring plastic and metal. In addition, educational buildings that have incorporated wood designs have seen an increase in positive social interactions between students.
As an advocate for green building and wood design, Kebony is proud to have contributed wood to several school and education construction projects around the world:
Miami Science Barge, Florida
On Earth Day 2016, the Miami Science Barge opened to provide STEM students with the opportunity to explore new green technologies and marine life. Kebony was used as the primary building material for the barge’s learning center, including decking, four multipurpose tables and eight benches. In addition, it was used for a retail stand, hostess podium and recycling bins, all designed by CustomBeach. Photos by Ana Leiva.
Moholt 50|50, Trondheim, Norway
This sleek and stylish development has a sustainable Kebony façade and will comprise five blocks, housing up to 632 students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology upon completion in December 2016. It is also set to become Europe’s largest cross-laminated timber structure. MDH Arkitekter have already won a sustainability award for their outstanding project. Photos by MDH Arkitekter.
Waldorf School, Fredrikstad, Norway
During the spring of 2016, the Waldorf School used raw materials for its facade, such as concrete, wood and steel to emphasize the materials' inherent natural beauty and blend with its natural forest backdrop. LINK Arkitektur creted this playful and engaging design to reflect the ethos of the Waldorf School. Leading Architect Martin Ebert used Kebony already on other cladding projects. Photos by Jiri Havran.
Kindergarden Usedom, Germany
Kebony contributed to the recent renovation of a kindergarden on the German island of Usedom. In addition to its psychological benefits, Kebony was selected for the decking of the terrace for safety reasons, as children will have direct contact with the wood. Kebony is completely toxin-free and is thus safe for kids, since it does not contain any harmful chemicals.
Gentofte School, Denmark
In 2014, the Gentofte School received a new addition that created 5,000 sq. ft. of space to accommodate 100 children, spread across two floors. Sustainability was key to the design ethos, leading Arkitema architects to clad the extensions entire façade, just under 4,400 sq. ft., in Kebony Character cladding. Photo by Niels Nygaard.
University of Southern Denmark Campus Kolding, Denmark
Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, University of Southern Denmark building creates a significant new landmark in Kolding. The facade is an integrated part of the building and together, they create a unique and varying expression, allowing sight to the large balconies with Kebony Clear cladding and decking.
Margarinfabrikken Kindergarden,Oslo, Norway
Due to its nontoxic nature, Kebony was chosen for the large front yard and playground decking at the Margarinfabrikken Kindergarden, where students will be in direct contact with the wood. In addition, the wood does not overheat in the summer months, making it a safe choice for students year round.
Colindale Primary School, Barnet, UK
Tasked with delivering a brand-new design for this visionary primary school, the architects at Sprunt made Kebony an integral element of this inspiring project because of its long lifespan, FSC certification and its silver-grey patina over time.
SOPP Student Housing, Lillehammer, Norway
In February 2016, Lillehammer hosted the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Distributed across four blocks, the 360 apartments of Lillehammer University College’s SOPP student development hosted more than 1,000 athletes. Kebony cladding was used to create a sustainable future for this accommodation and prospective students of Lillehammer. Architecture by Henning Larsen Architects and SGB.
Wonder Wood Playground, Rebild, Denmark
Using Kebony wood, the Skørping School created an interactive playground to encourage students to be more active and energetic, particularly those who did not already lead active lifestyles. Design by VEGA Landskab. Kebony was selected for its hard-wearing qualities that can withstand exposure to the elements without splintering, making it a safe and fit for purpose wood, suitable for use in a playground. Photos by Simon Jeppesen.
Whether it’s used for decking, cladding or furniture, the trend of adding wood to educational environments stands to enhance the learning experience for students and is likely to continue increasing in popularity.