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A Kindergarten is a place for a child to enjoy learning, feel comfortable and more importantly to enjoy coming to school each and every day. It is also a place for a child to grow, socially, emotionally, physically and also intellectually and on completion of kindergarten feel confident and develop a positive attitude about school. For these reasons the designing of a kindergarten from architects prospective should accommodate the need to understand the educational context for which they may be designing. This may be dictated quite precisely by the teachers or it may be more relaxed with the educational context appearing to be an essential prerequisite of the contemporary kindergarten.
The use of a timber frame construction techniques for the construction of a kindergarten is experiencing continual growth within the UK due to its lending itself to modern methods of construction and also being environmentally efficient and exhibiting structural robustness. Modern construction techniques has embraced timber frame as being one of the superior construction methods with the peace of mind that you have chosen the most environmentally friendly construction method available and also making a valuable contribution to reducing the carbon footprint. The issues relating to the construction industry require increased fabrication to be carried out off-site which has various benefits including more precise accuracy and faster assembly. Within modern timber framing systems there are various systems and techniques available such as open/closed panel and hybrid systems. The timber framing system SIPs is engineered to provide a more durable, energy efficient building and by using SIPs it creates a high performance building envelope which is the first step to producing a green kindergarten that is strong and energy efficient.
Timber as a material is considered to have excellent environment credentials as it is naturally renewable, easily worked and non-toxic. Timber as a renewable source, main attribute is that it absorbs and reduces the amount of COÂ² in the atmosphere. For every cubic metre of timber used in place of another building material saves the release of 0.8 tonnes of COÂ². Building timber frame for a kindergarten is very environmental efficient when considering the building envelope and falls comfortably within the UK government priorities of reducing climate change and providing a low carbon economy with sustainable production and consumption.
1.0 Educational Pedagogies
The term "Pedagogy" can be defined and often referred to as a "Practice of teaching" at the early years of education. The term pedagogy can become indistinguishable with the term "curriculum" where the term curriculum can be understood as denoting all of the knowledge, skills and values that children are meant to learn in educational establishments. Different early educational childhood practices are informed by different educational philosophies and have different assumptions on the styles of learning, child development, styles of instruction and also curricula. Within kindergarten design effective early childhood pedagogy must be "instructive" and should be seen to have that of an instructive play environment in itself and require the selection of appropriate techniques to facilitate learning.
The philosophy of early childhood education in which provides the foundation for kindergarten programs was derived from the ideas of German philosopher and also educator Friedrich Froebel and American philosopher John Dewey. Jean Piaget a Swiss Psychologist also enhanced the understanding of how children learn in which all three men recognized the important relationship of activity to learning.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) known for his pedagogical studies was one of the first researchers to reveal how children learn; he developed the theory that a child's mind evolves through a series of stages until adulthood which prompted a re-evaluation of learning and education, with the teacher seen as guide to a child's own discovery of the world. Within the stages they are intended to serve as general guidelines and not as fixed boundaries, and build upon interests, experiences and also background knowledge. So rather than a child been expected to be ready for school the school must be prepared to adapt to meet the varying need of the child. John Dewey (1859-1952) an American philosopher, psychologist and also an educational reformer was also very influential in education and social reform and was recognized as to be one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology. John Dewey emphasized among other things the importance of the social context in a child's developing understanding of self in relation to others. The "progressive education" movement in 1920 was a result of an effort to implement Dewey's pedagogical ideas; it was his philosophy in which he sought to transcend what he considered the misleading distinctions made by other philosophers by focusing on experience; he bridges the gulf between the organism and its environment to emphasize their interaction.
From these three philosophers possibly the most influential was Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852). He was a German pedagogue and a student of Pestalozzi who laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. From been influenced by the theories of Pestalozzi he founded aninfant school in 1837 in which he later called the "Kindergarten" or "garden of children". It was Froebel who developed the concept of the "Kindergarten" and also coined the word to be used in German and also English. Friedrich Froebel influenced modern techniques in pre-school education including ideas of John Dewey. Froebel had believes in which included "self-activity" and play as essential factors in a child's education, the teacher's role being to not drill or indoctrinate but rather to encourage self expression. His believes extended to provide a place in which children could be nurtured and developed through experiences with the natural environment in the company of caring people, and true education originated in activity, play would be an essential part of the educational process. By playing the children socialize and imitate adult social and economic activities as they gradually led into the larger world of group life, with the kindergarten providing a place to encourage children to interact with other children under the guidance of the teacher.
From studying several educational pedagogies from the likes of John Dewey/Jean Piaget and in particular Friedrich Froebel, central to the philosophy of early childhood are the beliefs that:
All aspects of development are interrelated.
Growth and leaning are continuous processes.
Each Individual child is worthy of respect and encouragement.
2.0 Building Type: Kindergartens
Kindergarten Buildings should subtly reflect in real terms the philosophy that kindergartens have an environment which nurtures the child's imaginative activities and also engender relaxing, open curriculum systems and also support the requirements of safety and security within the building.
Within kindergarten buildings there has been long established and broadly agreed requirements for the design of pre-school kindergartens. The internal design of the kindergarten is constrained by space, both in extensions and also in adaptations but allowance should also be made for the essential features within the building such as a quite area. A domestic area should be accommodated with a utility and toilet needed and also leave space to allow for an attractive, warm, homely and stimulating environment for the children. Parts of the kindergarten will be clearly defined by partitions but space should also be left for the teacher's digression to organize to the best effect, it is very important to give children enough space in such an environment. The environment in which is ideal for infants and toddlers to learn to move and learn by moving should stimulate a full range of body movements, object control and to allow them to sit, sway, crawl, bounce, run, climb, jump, grasp, bend, and also throw. The entire surfaces and the entire ambience should allow them to move within a safe and tolerable environment.
Effective plan of kindergarten with all area linked to one communal area.
The effective plan in which a kindergarten should be laid out should effectively have a main public communal space for all the children to interact and have various other smaller rooms/zones for group work / quite areas etc. The designing of different small rooms within the building is important so that if they wish children can feel they have their own privacy.
The size of the kindergarten should allow 1.5-3 mÂ²/Child within the internal space of the building and if there is any outdoor activity play area for toddlers 0.6 mÂ²/Child should be accommodated.
The physical and psychological exploration for toddlers and young pre-schoolers in a kindergarten building has an exploration that is clear and is comprehensible in the way of challenging children through the environment, but not over-whelming them also. The orientation of the building is important also to make the best use of sunlight. Daylight into educational buildings has the psychological effect that students who attend daylight school seem to perform up to 14% better than those who do not. For a kindergarten an appropriate day lighting strategy would be one that provides an adequate amount of light where needed while ensuring no visual discomfort and good visual performance. All children understand illusion and narrative and thru the building and its surroundings this should be incorporated with the likes of aesthetics, colour, light and texture and also distinctions between boys and girls spaces. The colours in a kindergarten have psychological effects and according to the theory by le Corbusier, they play an enormous role in the development of the children characters and adaption of the place. Colours have the effect of:
Red: Been where the eye looks first, it's full of energy and is associated with movement and excitement.
Yellow: Is a colour in which feels optimistic and helps to focus.
Green: A calming colour that's very pleasing to the senses.
Blue: Has the effect to cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming, and give a feeling of loyalty to a place. But sometimes also gives a cold feeling.
The entrance of the building is a psychologically important point where the child is separated from its parent, at this point in the building it should be as colourful, attractive, and have a warm feeling for the child to want to leave there parent and enter into the building willingly.
3.0 Timber- Systems:
The use of timber and the material properties and versatility of it as a construction material allows it to be used in a great variety of ways. Timber is still been used for the "traditional timber frame structure" but it is increasingly being used for contemporary timber frame structures in new and exciting ways. Contemporary Timber Frame Construction has three main elements in which are highly suitable for off-site manufacture, these consist of roof trusses, floor cassettes and also wall panels. Off-site manufacture of timber frame buildings these can consist of the frames been built manually by operatives within the factory or by the use of high levels of automation which reduces the need for factory operatives. When considering timber as a structural material for a kindergarten there are several different constructional systems which would be appropriate to use. The variety techniques involved include:
3 (a) - Panelised Units:
Within the panelised timber construction units they comprise of insulated floor, wall and roof panels. All the panels are factory produced and are delivered to site for erection to form a structural frame of the building. The panels are be open or closed panels with several advantages to be used in the construction of a kindergarten in Scotland. The system delivers total flexibility of design for the building and is a fast construction method to create a unique building such as a kindergarten. The internal fit out and finishes of panelised construction are added on site and this system also includes a wide range of external finishes to which can be added. The timber open panel system is covered internally by plasterboard and filled in-between the studs with high performance insulation, moisture/vapour barrier are built in within the system with the outer leaf then completing the structure.
3(b) - Volumetric System:
The use of a Volumetric System is also an alternative for the assembly of a timber structure at Craighouse Campus. This type of system involves the complete prefabrication of box units such as wall and floor compartments which form the individual rooms and sections of the kindergarten. It has the benefits of being fully finished pre-site with a high degree of quality control in the factory, the workmanship of this system can be improved by using this method but there are limitations on the size in which units can be transported. While the volumetric system is not a cost effective solution there are other benefits of this type of construction which include, no weather constraints, site safety and the massively reduced site and building costs which would all contribute to this system been adequate for the construction of the kindergarten building.
3(c) - Hybrid Techniques:
This Type of system is a combination of both the panellised and volumetric approaches. The volumetric units within the building would be used for the highly serviced and more repeatable areas such as the kitchen space and also the bathrooms within the building and then the remainder of the building be constructed using the panelised system. The Hybrid timber system reduces the costs of the building while also allowing flexibility in design in terms of timber spacing, the size and also quantity used. The hybrid system can be applied to literally any design style and wall system. This type of system would also be appropriate in the construction of the kindergarten structure, as for its flexibility in design and its ease of assembly on-site and the accommodation of service such as plumbing, electrical and heating are all simplified.
3.1 Modern Methods of Construction:
Modern Methods of Construction has embraced the timber frame as being one of the superior construction methods available today. This is as a result of a fast return on investment due to quicker construction times compared to other recognised construction techniques. By fabricating building elements in factory conditions the levels of defects can be greatly reduced producing buildings that are fit for purpose such as a kindergarten. As previously discussed there are many forms of Modern methods of timber frame buildings such as panel system, volumetric and hybrid systems but there is also a host of exciting beneficial developments such a Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) technology.
3.1 (a) - Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS):
The method of construction in which is associated with SIPS replaces the conventional stud/insulation/sheathing construction. Each SIP panel is composed of a solid form of insulation which is sandwiched between two oriented strand boards (OSB). These OSB's are composed of wood chips from fast growing tress maximizing the environmental resources and minimizing wastes. The Thickness of the OSB is 15mm with 110, rigid foam insulation foam, they are bonded directly to each other during the manufacturing process. The process creates large panels from which the panels are cut using software that optimises the cutting schedule creating panels with a maximum height of 3000mm and widths from 300-1200mm. This system would be most appropriate for the construction of kindergarten building with it producing a structurally superior, better insulated, faster to erect and more environmentally friendly building than other methods and is the answer to a climate of spiralling increases in material labour and energy costs. SIPS panels are also very flexible and can simplify construction by integrating the structure with insulation, it is also very versatile with SIPS been used as either load bearing or skin applications allowing the use in a wide range of construction projects. Economical SIPS compares very well on a materials cost basis with other types of construction with the real savings coming from reduced installation cost and energy cost savings over time.
3.2 Opportunities Timber Construction may offer:
In the selection of a timber frame building for the construction of a kindergarten and by using such Timber systems as Structurally Insulated Panels can provide various opportunities in many situations for many different people and make an outstanding building on the Craighouse Campus. By using such systems like SIPS the imagination is the limit, the timber systems have great durability, superb energy efficiency, distinctive interior décor, lasting value and a warm rich feeling of living which would all be incentives to use the timber systems for the use of a kindergarten.
4.0 Timber- Sustainability:
For the proposed kindergarten on the Craighouse Campus environmental considerations are particularly appropriate to the needs of young children on a number of levels. It is necessary to keep them warm and healthy at all times in a well ventilated environment while also avoiding the use of hazardous or pollutant materials. With the use of wood within the kindergarten it is natural, environmentally friendly material that is nontoxic, biodegradable, recyclable, thermally efficient, and is also pleasing to look at and easy to work with. Associated with timber also is their ability to retain carbon, use less energy to produce and also substitute for energy demanding materials such as steel. By increasing the amount of timber used within the kindergarten that are grown and sourced locally, and by substituting for materials that have high embodied energy can have an impact on reducing emissions.
Off-site fabrication for a timber frame kindergarten will reduce waste and by using a system such as structurally insulated panels will add to the advantage of also been light in unit weight while also reducing embodied and transport energy. The SIPS Panels have high levels of insulation and air tightness which reduce the major sources of building energy use. Along with the high levels of insulation SIPS Panels are made up of oriented strand board (OSB) which is manufactured from fast growing, underutilized and often less expensive wood species, the production of the board uses small wood chips and highly automated machinery, making the material a very efficient use of raw materials. High performance rigid polyurethane insulation is used which is a lightweight insulation composed mostly of air, in the manufacturing of the insulation it takes 24% less energy to produce polyurethane than fibreglass insulation and the excess waste in the manufacturing process can also be recycled. When comparing the choice of system used to a wood framed house with fibreglass insulation it may have a lower embodied energy than a house made from SIPs, but it may require also the use of more material or be less insulated and thus requiring more energy to climate control during the use of the house.
The embodied energy within the SIPs Panels is the total energy in which is required to product it. The Panels major components are the rigid polyurethane foam and also the oriented strand board, these two components take less energy and raw materials to produce than any other building system, with them also been fabricated in a controlled environment allowing for a greater efficiency makes them one of the "greenest" construction materials with a low embodied energy to produce.
All materials have an embodied carbon value that represents the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. Carbon dioxide is a dangerous greenhouse gas in which is being emitted into the earth's atmosphere at unsustainable rates. By using a timber frame building such as a SIPs System for a kindergarten it would have the lowest COÂ² available in any building material, for every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonnes of COÂ² is saved from the atmosphere, with an average of 4 tonnes of COÂ² been saved within the construction of the kindergarten.
By completing and building the kindergarten with timber fame there are real financial, social and qualitative advantages to be gained from building in such a sustainable manner as timber frame. Flexible, healthy, efficient, maintainable and manageable buildings can reduce adverse environment impact, deliver financial benefits from resource productivity and maintain long term investment. The use of timber within the kindergarten can provide new and creative ways of designing buildings; its versatile nature ensures that what has always been a traditional building material and can lead us into the twenty-first century. It also has never been so important with government targets and proposals for new homes and building to meet zero carbon by 2016 and the continual government tightening of environmental legislation resulting in more stringent regulations and will continue to do so. In deciding on a potential modern method of timber frame construction it is important to fully realise the advantages and also disadvantages of the different types of construction and that they are fully understood, so that the right decision is made in selecting one system over the other.
Part 2: The Timber Industry and the Recession.
Future Statistics and Projections:
Economic depression has left the country at its lowest ebb ever and from here on in the only way is up. Over the past decade the housing industry has changed for many people seen the value of their homes increase substantially while also decreasing in recent years. From 1997 low inflation and low interest rate have led to over 1 million more home owners over the last ten to twelve years. Since late 2007 the house building industry has been at the forefront of what has been one of the most prominent recessions every seen with the result of a national reduction in sales of about half of its previously normalized levels. Such a reduction in the housing sector has seen a huge amount of jobs and also skills lost.
Since the recession has commenced the construction of homes has decreased but there is still the need for new dwellings to be built, with only half the number of new dwellings required currently been built. The recession has seen the price of an average house significantly fall throughout the past eighteen months with promising signs of stability in the market now appearing but is by no means in full recovery mode yet. But what lies ahead? New challenges lie ahead with the demand for homes to either buy or rent growing at a faster rate than the country can supply. The average house for homeowners has grown at a faster rate than their wages with it becoming increasingly harder for young people to take the step onto the property ladder at present. To accompany these housing challenges the consideration also of climate change will mean the construction industry will have to provide greener, better-designed housing within the UK in time for future targets to be met.
At present the government has set new targets for housing which include by 2016, 240,000 additional homes built a year to meet the increasing demand and also address affordability issues. This target set by the government is a rate in which has not been achieved at any point since the early 1900's and with the reluctance also on the part of the banks to offer new homeowners mortgages, means that the government's target in which aims to have three million new homes in the UK by 2020 is a fast becoming an unattainable ambition. From these targets set by the government there is no doubt that there is the need to build new homes, but while building new homes there should be criteria set to want to be able to build better homes to a higher standard, both in terms of good design and also the environmental impact of the new homes and develop a much more sustainable approach for the future. Putting this into context it will mean making our new homes should be part of the solution to climate change and not making them part of the problem.
Currently around 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide arise from the way heat, light and also run out home which is around a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions. We want to protect the environment and reduce these emissions and the use of "The Code for Sustainable Homes" signals the right path in which should be taken for doing so. With the use of the code of sustainable homes the government wants to encourage and achieve all new homes being zero carbon by the year 2016 meeting the standards highest code and delivering real improvements in the area of carbon dioxide emissions. In considering both ambitions of the government in terms of increasing the housing supply and also raising the environmental standards there is no doubt that delivering the twin ambitions are presenting a major challenge. There is the need to also ensure that the future environment implementations are also not introduced in a way that delays the building of homes in which are needed at present. There is no magic bullet for the industry to suddenly meet the current standards and targets for housing and also environmental impact but the use of timber frame systems will help significantly to meets all levels of the code for sustainable homes while also helping with the need for delivering housing targets with its speed of construction.
Timber frame looks set to become the number one choice to help in the economic upturn when it does come around, with it looking at been the appropriate solution for the urgent need for fast, sustainable buildings. The "UK Timber Frame Association" showed in a report that the market for timber frame construction has continued to advance and now stands at 25% of all new housing in the UK, making its stamp that timber frame is the right solution for now and also the future with it having the ability to exceed current building regulations, performing better than any other building material and also the speed and efficiency of construction, will deliver the best economic solution for new homeowners of the future.
The government has its twin ambitions for the housing growth in the country and also increasing the environmental standards to making the UK a better place to live but to achieve these ambitions there is also the need for more skilled workers in the country. For this to be achieved there will be the need to improve training and tackle the recruitment and retention difficulties in areas while also making sure that there are also enough skilled professionals within the sector to meet the government's ambitions. The government at present are playing an important role in providing the right framework working with the employer organisations and also ensuring that education, training and current procedures are delivering the right skills but wider skills initiatives are important not least apprenticeships and vocational courses but gaining more skills through experience and employment can play more of a powerful role in raising standards of new homes.
The government has the objectives to improve the quality and sustainability of the construction but it is not just merely about using greater resources or efficiency it should be about getting it right from the start with the right skills in place at all points of the sector. To accompany enhancing the skills for new dwellings, the government should look at considering an increase to grant support and bring forward social housing budgets to get more homes built sooner. Along with this initiative, speeding up the planning process will have to be considered so that properties can be built faster.
Targets set for 240,000 new homes per year to be built by the year 2016 is a major challenge with the majority of homes needed to be built in the private home sector by home builders for the outright home ownership. For this to be achieved the house builders/developers will have to provide most of these homes at a low cost for social renting in partnership with local authorities and also other bodies, with a further challenge on the house builders to accelerate the delivery and development of low and zero carbon technologies also. In reaching targets set by the government in making the housing sector more affordable there should be long term aim to consider ways to help mortgage lenders, finance mortgages and also more affordable long term fixed rate mortgages. The price of current housing has made is increasing difficult for young people to buy their own home and take a step onto the property ladder with the essential need to help these young people and families by developing more affordable homes by the local authorities and also the housing associations and private sector.
In recent years evidence has shown developer had taken the option of buying land, obtaining planning permission and then delaying building in the hope the value of the land would increase. The period for which planning permission remains valid has been reduced from five to three years but this period if will need to be considered with a further reduction, as an incentive for builders to move on the process and build out major housing development to cope with the current demand of housing which is arising. This period could be reduced to a length of 12 months but will need the construction of quickly constructed housing also to meet the current demand also.
In concluding on the house building industry within the UK there is the need to drive forward with the delivery of housing growth and higher environmental standards, with the UK leading from the front in terms of efficiency of housing and also climate change. For this to be achieved much needed homes are required with a shared reasonability needed with political leadership and delivery support shared between national, regional and local levels within the sectors from the public and private prospective by also involving local communities. Everyone needs to take responsibility and play their part in the delivery, with the local authorities having a critical role in achieving the high ambitions. The house builders also have to rise to the challenge working to bring forward and tackle any barriers faced in achieving housing targets and its realistic delivery of government ambitions.