Genzero Demonstrator Classroom

Lyall Bills & Young Architects, Glasgow, 2021



Andy J Mather     Download Original

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The Demonstrator Classroom tests components and strategies for the Department for Education’s Genzero research project, informing the next generation of net zero school designs.

This project aims to deliver an ultra-low carbon outcome and whole life value, using digitally based construction and streamlined off-site manufacturing, ultimately creating healthy and productive learning spaces.

The prototype uses a ‘kit of parts’ approach and innovative construction, based around a highly standardised yet flexible accommodation model. All space planning and components work to a rational 1.8m grid, simplifying manufacturing and maximising future adaptability.

The Demonstrator Classroom has been produced using components from the kit of parts and manufactured with UK-grown timber. It was displayed at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre during COP26 and used as a successful temporary education and learning space.

Environmental strategies for the classroom include natural cross ventilation with heat recovery, high ceilings and tall windows for good daylighting, with automatic and manually operated openings.

An innovative floor system has been developed for the classroom which uses composite timber and concrete construction, providing lightweight yet durable floor, with a long-lasting exposed concrete finish.

A corridor wall component houses a distributed timber column structure, reducing and simplifying foundations, along with flexible space for vertical services, including acoustic ductwork for natural cross ventilation.

Timber dividing walls components are a manufactured from spruce panels of varying thicknesses, with an insulated cavity for acoustic separation.

The component solution has been carefully optimised and uses a third less material than a typical mass timber building. The Demonstrator is very low carbon in construction using 20,222kg CO2 (with sequestration) delivered to site.

The timber is left exposed as far as possible, to reduce plasterboard and painted finishes internally and increase robustness, but also to promote a biophilic effect and promote occupant wellbeing.


  • Begun: Oct 2021
  • Completed: Oct 2021
  • Floor area: 63m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £148,000
  • Funding: Construction Innovation Hub and Innovate UK
  • Tender date: Mar 2021
  • Procurement: Short form of contract
  • Address: Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Hamilton International Technology Park, Glasgow, United Kingdom

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