Outdoor Classroom, Greystones School, Sheffield

Outdoor classroom with wildflower roof for primary school in Sheffield. The school have a growing commitment to outdoor learning and have already installed raised vegetable beds and greenhouse and a have a specialist teacher who’s role is develop cross curricular outdoor learning across the whole school. This shelter will be a big addition to that, and will also be used by the home school network after school.

The structure is made from home grown freshly cut Douglas Fir timber with steel box section shoes to connect it to the ground, while importantly keeping the timber out of the damp zone. We opted to hand dig the holes for each leg, down to solid subsoil, drop in the steel shoes, and then ram the removed material back into the holes around the steel shoes. This makes for a solid ground connection with almost zero waste. Quite different to the removal of large amounts of ground with a machine, disposing of this in a skip and then filling in the holes with concrete.

This approach significantly lowers the environmental impact and so enhances the sustainability of the project. Using UK grown, freshly cut timber from managed forests is the greenest way to build and adding in nature with a wildflower roof has lots of benefits for local: wildlife, climate and water storage.