The NSW demountable classroom: an analytical study to improve this radical building solution for education

  • YEAR
    Slee, Ben
    Hyde, Richard
    2015 Conference Papers
    Architecture and Environment
    Conference Papers


The NSW demountable classroom continues to fulfil the function it was designed to fulfil and
is radical because, unusually, it has always been capable of adaption. However in recent years aspects of the system have become obsolete. The technology exists to adapt it and turn it into a high performance building typology. This paper adopts a qualitative methodology based on the Building Performance Research Unit’s (BPRU) concept of buildings as a series of open systems. Using contemporary documentary evidence, open ended structured interviews and detailed physical inspections the first part of the paper shows that the demountable classroom has played and continues to fulfil an important and significant role in the provision of teaching accommodation across the state as it was originally designed to do. The second part of the paper considers the changing perception of the demountable classroom in the context of the concept of obsolescence. The paper concludes by showing that the demountable classroom was and remains a radical building solution, that is mistakenly maligned, and offers the communities and government of New South Wales an opportunity to develop a high performance, adaptable and low carbon piece of education infrastructure.


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