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Different class

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TIMBER IN ARCHITECTURE

Untreated cedar cladding, with exposed stainless-steel fixings, has been used on an IT training facility designed by Associated Architects for Queen Alexandra College at Harborne, Birmingham.The college is a national college of further education and a Learn Direct centre for people aged 16-63 with sight loss and/or other disabilities.

The brief was for a flexible building to accommodate one IT training room that could be subdivided into three equal spaces with folding acoustic walls.Each space would accommodate eight students and one teacher.Natural light had to be contained and constrained to avoid glare, which can be a problem for people with visual disabilities.

Associated Architects'solution was to place the three IT rooms side by side, facing west, and with an adjacent building and tree helping with control of solar gain.The colour of the cedar cladding, which will weather to a silvery grey character, contrasts with the classroom entrance's strong red wall.This echoes a similar coloured wall at the main entrance - just one part of the architect's strategy to aid orientation and navigation in the building.

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