s.e.e.d. – a new demountable classroom

betti & knut architecture

While working on the German International School Sydney (GISS) Masterplan, the client required an interim solution involving portable classrooms. The challenge was to rethink the very established Australian ‘demountable’ which features throughout most schools in Australia, and achieve a modern solution aligned to our strong advocacy for sustainability. The goal was to build sustainable portable classrooms at a cost and time frame equivalent to traditional portable classrooms and attain the International Passivehouse Standard using timber as the primary construction material.

The result is s.e.e.d.; a prototype for a new s-ustainable e-nvironmental ed-ucation space and the antidote to traditional demountables.

Each mass timber classroom was preassembled off site, craned into place in five modules and installed in less than 90 minutes per building. Designed and constructed to the International Passivehouse Standard, the classrooms allow for filtered, clean air and thermal comfort year-round, while reducing heating and cooling demands by 90 per cent.

The use of timber counteracts humidity levels to reabsorb humidity during wet weather and release in dry weather, naturally helping to create a balanced indoor comfort. It also connects the buildings to the surrounding bushland setting.

Clean and fresh filtered air is supplied within the Passivehouse envelope through Heat Recovery Ventilation units which maintain a constantly comfortable room temperature. Not only beneficial in hot and cold months or to students with asthma and allergies, HRV units are valuable additions throughout the bushfire season and help keep CO2 levels below a critical 800 ppm in all classrooms.

Considering the continued demand for portable classrooms across Australia in the foreseeable future, we hope to see these s.e.e.d.’s become an integral part of a sustainable growth strategy within the education sector.

Photography by Bettina Steffens