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As reported in Building Design (Friday 12 April 2013), Knott Architects, with Planning Aid for London, has gained planning consent for a farm as part of Grey Court School, Ham, in west London.

The comprehensive school specialising in science, maths and computing will use the farm as a teaching tool. "It's form is an entirely pragmatic response to a programme that includes a classroom and barn with the need to demonstrate sustainability." It has been developed in collaboration with the charity School Food Matters, led by Stephanie Wood, with the additional aim of producing food for the school's canteen.

Recycled and sustainable building materials will include fly-ash concrete floors from power station waste and earth-bag walls from foundation spoils. Students will collect aluminium drinks cans that will be crushed and used to fill gabion walls. Timber elements are also from recycled sources and hazel pen hurdles will be grown and coppiced on site. A sedum roof tops the building and will include photo-voltaic panels and rainwater harvest.

The project is due for completion this year, with plans to involve the students in the construction process. Partner George Knott says "One aspect that has enthused me is the potential for the students to get involved. It could be calculating the power generation for the PVs in a physics lesson, designing an embossed design for the mud-clad walls in an art lesson, growing hazel and learning to make fencing in a craft lesson, or selecting the plants for the roof in biology."

Click on the image to the right to download a pdf (320k).