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CABAS Temporary School

  • Architect:
    O’Riordan Staehli Architects
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2003
  • Location: Munster
CABAS Temporary School


Southern between €300,000 and €3,000,000

This project demonstrates how a temporary prefabricated structure can be transformed by innovative design into a most attractive and appealing series of school classrooms.The vibrant colour scheme of the external façade,complete with louvered timber shutters together with the variety of shapes and patterns both externally and internally,create a most pleasant environment for small children.The architects are to be commended for setting new standards of design for temporary classroom accommodation in Ireland

Architect ’s Comment
Cork CABAS School is a special-needs school for young children with autistic spectrum disorder.Following the School ’s inception,and its initial accommodation in two separate facilities,this new building provides it with a temporary home,until such time as a more permanent facility can be achieved.

The Department of Education and Science,with support from the Board of Management of Ashton School,developed the project on grounds made available at the school.

The temporary nature of the building arose from the need to provide the facility as quickly as possible to meet the needs of the thirty pupils attending the school.It also allows for the building to be removed in the future,allowing the areas affected to revert back to use by Ashton School.

Having established that a prefabricated building system was to be provided,the central design challenge was to ensure that the final building was recognisably a school for young children,rather than some indeterminate modular accommodation. With this in mind,elements at various scales in the final design were chosen to achieve variety and interest in terms of colours,textures,shapes,patterns,spaces and natural lighting.These choices involved reassessment of what is achievable,internally and externally,with prefabricated buildings,and with the "on-site"elements that could be added to them.

Clients’ Comment
The prefabricated buildings that arrived on site for this school were far beyond any expectations that I had.They are spacious,fully sound proofed,attractive from both inside and outside,all connected to a wide corridor giving huge amounts of space.To most people ’s astonishment the space inside is vast and the classrooms are extensive.

On entry,the long corridor is extremely bright as there is a "see through"roof that allows in natural light.In addition,there are glass windows along the walls of the classrooms that also allow the natural light into the classrooms.There is a visually impaired student in the school and the use of natural light in the building has made much difference to her educational programs.The layout of the building is exactly what I hoped for.All classrooms are lined along one side of the main corridor and the use of glass is extremely effective,as one can stand in the first classroom and glass doors and partitions allow us to see another four classrooms.The building itself is friendly and welcoming with bright colours on walls and floors.The students feel very happy and comfortable in the school and it is a very pleasant place to learn.

Externally,the grounds are spacious and also very attractive with protective flooring for cycling,and grassed areas for playing.There are attractive shutters on the outside of all windows and when closed the classrooms appear very cosy.

In summary,the building has far exceeded my expectations and the staff are very happy and proud to work in such a building.