A nature classroom to educate schoolchildren on the vibrant wildlife of Polmaise Lagoons Nature Park.
Previously a landfill site for domestic and commercial waste, in a more environmentally aware era the land at Polmaise now contains a recycling centre and a geometric solar panel array alongside man-made lagoons that contain well established wetlands and reed beds. Walkers and visitors to this area of considerable nature conservation interest are afforded panoramic views up and down the River Forth across to the Ochil Hills and towards Stirling. HAUS have been commissioned by Scottish Power to design a small outdoor classroom to sit in this rich landscape.
The classroom will be developed alongside two other projects proposed for Polmaise Lagoons; Polmaise Lagoons Wetland and Polmaise Lagoons Boardwalk. These projects will act as part of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, which aims to enhance the biodiversity of the wetlands, increase permeability to the public, and provide education to the public. The new interventions will facilitate a platform for visiting school groups and communities to immerse themselves in the vibrant wildlife, whilst understanding its fragility and the importance of the role that the recycling centre plays.
The classroom will double as a hide from which to observe wildlife.
The new classroom accommodates 30 children alongside 4 adults, attaining a rough floor area of 60sqm with a central space positioned to frame the aspect across the lagoon to the hills beyond, with wider views towards the Wallace Monument. The unique shape responds to the geometric form of the adjacent solar panel structure’s silhouette, whilst providing a covered space to form an observation shelter for the public to use as a bird watching and nature observation space.
A natural material palette was used to create the outdoor classroom. The warmth of the cross-laminated timber invites the users into the space, whilst the black rubber exterior forms a clean contemporary skin atop the tectonic form.