The Cardboard Building

Cottrell and Vermeulen Architecture, Westcliff-on-Sea, 2001


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Peter Grant (website)     Download Original

  • Site plan    
  • Plan    
  • Short section    
  • Long Section    
  • Recycle diagram    
  • Sketch    
  • AERIAL    
  • Paper model    
  • Roof detail    
  • Eaves detail    

Experimental cardboard school building designed to last for 20 years and test the sustainability of using cardboard within a built project

The permanent educational and community space, that includes a kitchen and toilets, is made almost entirely from recycled material. The aim was to use 90 per cent recycled and recyclable materials, to create both a structure and a play space that worked with the properties of the material.

The building's main structural elements are constructed from cardboard. Tubes are used as load bearing columns to support a wooden roof truss that runs the length of the building. The wall and roof panels are made from a honeycomb and edged with timber to allow conventional joinery methods to be used.

Artist Simon Patterson screen printed onto the cladding panels of the front elevation images of instructions for an origami heron, a local species.

The school communities were involved with the project from the outset. The children collected card for recycling, helped design and develop the building, and took part in a live BBC broadcast.


  • Begun: 2001
  • Completed: 2001
  • Floor area: 80m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £177,000
  • Address: Westborough Primary School, Macdonald Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9BS, United Kingdom

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