Greenery central to school plan

An informal village-style school that will sit amid more than 100 trees and provide opportunities for growing fruit and vegetables is planned in Liverpool.

Surrounded by mature trees, the design for the new special school aims to green the brownfield site and maximise the potential for physical exercise. The £10m project is being delivered by 2020 Liverpool, a joint venture between Mouchel and the city council.

Mouchel architect Phil Martin said: "The proposed site has a large number of trees of various species and great care was exercised in developing the design proposals in a way that minimised the impact on existing trees."

The brief for the project was to give the school a domestic rather than institutional feel, and the design aimed to maximise the potential for physical exercise, seen as being particularly important for the young people, who have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Martin added: "Preserving and enhancing the tranquillity of the setting has been important and the school will be looking to further develop the external areas for therapeutic and educational purposes once they move in - for instance, they intend to grow fruit and vegetables on site."

The new build special school includes a cluster of buildings comprising a two-storey school, four residential blocks, playgrounds and soft landscaping.

Solar water heating and automated window controls led by internal sensors and a roof-mounted weather centre mean each individual room can respond to internal temperature and external weather changes.

2020 Liverpool will also project manage the construction phase, expected to begin this spring and end in autumn 2009.

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