See also my tumblr blogs here: http://nickmeech1.tumblr.com
Friday, 26 April 2013
School or Prison?
Schools need better fencing. There is no need for them to look like open prisons.
Why is fencing specified to make schools resemble secure units?
Increasingly encouraged to be the centre of a community, schools could look welcoming while still satisfying the need for security and child safety.
I was asked to help prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour within the grounds of Lampard Community School by erecting some new fencing and when searching the available options found nothing to do the job well. We designed something new that now gives others a better option for schools and other similar sites.
Using timber instead of powder coated steel or weldmesh immediately helps give a softer more natural feel.
The conflicting needs of preventing access yet provide a boundary that reflect a schools community welcoming face is not easy. We must try harder though and provide feasible alternatives for architects and local authority specifiers.
Made on site using traditional skills and sustainable local materials we have shown what is possible, raising the bar with UK product design and manufacture.
Toby and Ali at Say It With Wood with their team of skilled woodsmen were crucial in refining the design and delivering this first project.
We are proud to promote the use of skilled labour and do not believe de skilling products and importing cheap less sustainable materials provide the best or cheapest long term alternative.
We identified the need for two levels of security, a high difficult to climb barrier for vulnerable areas and an alternative for long stretches where there is a reduced risk of climbing and economy is required.
Spile with a Twist
1.8m high the top is secured by winding two strands of wire around each upright as its assembled on site.
Curved for Strength
2.5m high with a structural steel top incorporating a graphic silhouette making it difficult to climb.
The cleft (split) side facing out from the school. The internal bark side will provide a fantastic habitat as the less durable sap wood degrades and supports the insects that will benefit the whole food chain. Woodpecker heaven!
Environmentally it is extremely sustainable compared to the alternatives with little embodied energy and provides a habitat by its very nature. Itʼs durability comes from the way it matures and develops with age to form part of the landscape as the wild roses planted at its base cover much of the structure adding more security in the process.
Evaluation and testing was completed on site with the school, council experts, craft specialists, designers and project managers. This addressed the issues of fire, security, safety and functionality. We were delighted with the performance and will continue to monitor durability and all round performance.
Durable cleft outer face
Rounded inner face providing a valuable wildlife habitat
Integration of growing element with dog rose planting
Interpretive graphics in top steel section designed with students
On site practical skill sessions for students during construction