This pioneering school is the only building in Wales to be nominated for a prestigious international architecture award, it was announced yesterday.
The sustainable Priory Church in Wales Primary School in Brecon has been selected from more than 140 worldwide entries to be included on the long list for the World Architecture News Education Awards 2011.
Others on the long list include Kroon Hall at Yale University and Houston Ballet Centre for Dance, both from the USA, Hong Kong Design Institute in China and the Performing Arts Centre in Vancouver, Canada.
Cardiff Architect, Gabriel Williams, of Petersen Williams, said he wanted the courtyard-based design of Priory to provide a unique and sustainable learning environment.
The £4m eco refit has also been influenced by its location within the Brecon Beacons National Park, with materials sympathetic to the site, the surrounding buildings and landscape.
Mr Williams said, ‘We are pleased to see Wales represented on the world stage up against some enormous schemes.’
‘People have said our design is based loosely on a question mark – but that was not deliberate. We initially wanted the classrooms centred around the hall, but then we decided to move the hall to one side and created the courtyard.’
He said. ‘Features include an innovative arts area and library, conference room and solar roof panels. There is also a biomass boiler and grey-water harvesting system for flushing toilets.’
School receptionist, Ruth Hobbs, said ‘ It is a lovely place to work and the courtyard design provides a secure environment for our 143 pupils.’
‘In the previous building that was around 25 years old, the roof was leaking and I had what felt like a cupboard to work in,’ she added.