Environment learning centre helps school children get up close with sustainability

Primary school children at a school in Amsterdam’s Noord district are learning about gardening and sustainability within a net-zero energy building surrounded by an abundant garden.

The Nature & Environment Learning Centre (NME), designed by architecture studio Bureau SLA, works both as a classroom and as an educational tool itself – the building’s sustainability can be seen and felt by all who come in contact with it, enabling school children to get up close with the sustainable materials.

The slanted roof of the NME, which almost touches the ground, means that even smaller children can easily see the solar panels. While the interiors combine different natural materials like wood and cork.

The walls and the roof around the solar cells are clad with timber slats arranged in a tiled pattern. These slats conceal the bitumen weatherproofing beneath and create a surface that is flush with the solar panels. And on the building’s east wall, a collection of birdhouses offer accommodation for families of swifts and bats.

The NME is part of a programme aimed at educating children in the Netherlands about the environment and sustainability.

In Amsterdam, every primary school student is provided with his or her own 6-square meter garden to care for. These pupils are also enrolled in classes where they learn about nature and the environment, held in one of the buildings dedicated to this purpose throughout the city.

The NME, which is the first purpose-designed and built centre in the program, was erected in 2015. Built to replace two temporary structures, the timber-clad NME comprises two large classrooms, a canteen, and office space.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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