German International School

Winner of the Sustainability Category in the 2022 Timber Design Awards

A key design challenge was to rethink the established Australian ‘demountable’, which features throughout most schools in Australia, with the goal to build sustainably at a cost and timeframe equivalent to traditional portable classrooms and attain the International Passivehouse Standard using timber as the primary construction material.

The resulting design concept is ‘s.e.ed.’, 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 5 modules and installed in less than 90 minutes per building.

The classrooms were designed and constructed to the International Passivehouse Standard, so the classrooms provide filtered, clean air and thermal comfort year-round, whilst reducing heating and cooling demands by 90 per cent.

The air is supplied within the Passivehouse envelope through Heat Recovery Ventilation units which maintain a constantly comfortable room temperature of between 20-25 degrees.

The use of timber internally and externally connects the buildings to the surrounding bushland setting, providing a calm natural interior that supports a positive learning environment for the students.

Understanding Australia's schools' immense need for demountables in the near future, using this amazing concept would not only have a positive environmental impact overall, but also educate students about sustainable building by providing first-hand experience of the thermal comfort in these classrooms. It’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved cost-effectively.

Design: Betti & Knut Architecture

Photography: Bettina Steffens