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Cockburn High School Straw Bale Classroom

Completed in 2011, this project provides a hub building for the new growing area established at the school, a space for cooking food grown on the allotment and for small group learning, as well as being used as a shop for community events.  Pupils would be involved in the building project the whole way through.


This was a Groundwork Leeds project funded by the National Lottery and the school.   Many pupils, volunteers and even teachers were involved, learning construction skills and  environmental awareness. For many of the pupils who had difficulties in a classroom environment, this was an opportunity to be part of something outside of the classroom and to feel real acheivement.
The building, designed by Zac Solomons and Nico Smith and incorporating Zac’s original Roof frame design, used load-bearing straw bales plastered with lime and clay as its main building material, also incorporating cob, local and reclaimed timber for roof shingles, door and decking, and tyre foundations.

It included striking features such as a pyramid rooflight, slumped glass window designs, specially made sycamore stable door, and a larch veranda incorporating wood-fired pizza oven.


Look at the blog posts and videos from this project here:



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