The 3D Textbook: Energy

How could a school building teach students about solar energy?

The ESD of these school buildings creates opportunities for high levels of interaction between the students and the building.  While the environmental management elements are quite advanced, they are generally simple mechanical devices, requiring very little external power input.

For example, the solar chimneys have adjustable lids, reached via the roof garden, which students can move to change the amount of light and heat being let into the building.  The chimneys need adjustment throughout the year as the sun angle changes.  Sun movement throughout the year can be tracked, and seasonal shadows and thermal mass can be understood through simply by being in the school.

Another example is the drenched membrane evaporative-cooling system. Rainwater harvested with the balcony water tanks is used to drench the tensile membrane towers in summer. The membranes are located in the direction of summer breezes, so when air moves over the wet fabric, it cools down. The cool air is then emitted into the classroom when the windows are open.

Technology is used to enhance the learning process rather than being included for its own sake.

Many of the interactive elements are in the common areas of the school, meaning they are part of the “unofficial” learning environment students engage with during their time out of the classrooms.

This project also led to the post-production design of the VEIL Solar Shade.


Kathleen Turner




Smart Green Schools

Studio Leader

Dominique Hes and Kirsty Fletcher