Planning has been granted for an innovative green primary school and children's centre, with associated community facilities at Barton Hill in Bristol. Designed by sustainability architects Architype, the building on the site of the existing Barton Hill Primary School will replace the primary school as well as nearby Cashmore Nursery and Barton Hill Infant Schools.

The £4m project is being funded by Bristol City Council in partnership with Community at Heart and SureStart and will start construction in August 2006 and is due for completion in August 2007.

The building is designed to have a clear and simple form. Colour, spaciousness and fun are key design features and special attention has been paid to creating an environment suitable for children with special needs, with a careful balance between the safety of the children and the open aspect of the building. The new school will present a welcoming façade to the Barton Hill community, featuring an eye-catching double height entrance area which allows separate access and identity to the school and children’s centre, within one overall space. The building is designed to high environmental standards.

The overall approach is to avoid technical fixes, and achieve sustainability by simple effective measures. These include a highly insulated timber frame construction, combined with thermal mass in load bearing ground floor cross walls and concrete floor slabs; high levels of natural daylight and natural passive ventilation to all main rooms; UK grown timber cladding; use of recycled newspaper insulation; and use of natural materials and finishes to create a healthy internal environment.

The existing primary school on site will remain in occupation throughout the construction process and will be demolished upon completion of the new building to create new playground areas. The site area has also been increased by the inclusion of a derelict site and removing a right-of-way.

Community consultation has been a fundamental part of the design process and the final design is an expression of the aspirations of the multiple client bodies and the wider school community in Barton Hill. Pete Davies, of Community at Heart, Barton Hill, said: “Architype's approach has enabled children, parents, carers and staff to participate in the creation of their new school and children's centre. This has invigorated the community and allowed us all not only to own the final designs but ultimately, as it emerges, own this uniquely exciting building.”

Jos Clark, Bristol City Council's Executive Councillor for Children and Young People's Services, said: "The interest and anticipation shown in Barton Hill over this project shows how very important the school is as a community focus. It was clear during the consultation. Residents in the area value education and cherish the opportunities for their children."