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Sunnervik Zero Emission School

Sustainable Architectural Design | Instructor: John Helmfridsson | Spring 2019

In Collaboration with Gustaf Sjöberg and Bonan Yang

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Sunnvervik is a F-3 zero emission school located in Lundby, Sweden. The main concept was to utilize as much of the site for the school yard as possible to provide children with a strong connection to nature. Thus, the building volume is pushed against the two roads that frame the site. By doing this, the school and existing hill enclose the school yard and separate it from traffic.


Wanting to emphasize the openness towards the yard, the street-facing facades have a more closed and flat expression. In contrast, the school yard facades are playful with the group rooms jutting out of the building. This blurs the distinction between inside and outside. Further, the classrooms are placed so they have views towards the natural elements.

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The core is the most celebrated space in the school. For this reason, it is placed centrally on the corner of the site.

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 The entrance and school yard exit are directly connected to the core. Each unit also has direct access to it, encouraging people to constantly move through the space.


Level 1


Level 2



Having the facilities in the core brings people into the space and allows the community to have access during out of school hours. 


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With a library, playful staircase, and slide, the core acts as a play space and gathering area. The design of the core is curved and organic in contrast to the rest of the building. This further distinguishes it as unique.

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Section A


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Section B

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Classroom Units

The classrooms are placed so they have views towards the school yard. The two-story atrium provides a flexi-play space, daylighting, and natural ventilation.

View of Classrooms from Atrium


Zero Emission Building Concept

C02 Emitted by Material, Transports, and Installations

C02 Emission Potential by Energy Use

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Total CO2 Emitted: 505.6 Tons
Total CO2 Stored: 1,535.2 Tons

C02 Retained by Use of PV’s

C02 Stored within Materials

By using materials with low CO2 emissions, the building is carbon neutral from day one. Over time, the renewable energy from the PVs on the roof offset potential emissions.

The main body of the construction consists of pre-fabricated straw bale panels from Modcell and gluelam pillars for the load bearing system. Because straw has a fast growing cycle and also stores CO2, it is very good emission wise. Pillars are used instead of load bearing walls in order to save material and emit less CO2 in the building process. 

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Modcell Prefab Straw Bale Panel

20 mm Wood Facade

50 mm Clay Plaster

Interior Plywood

400 mm Straw Insulation with Battens

15 mm Chipboard

38 mm Lumber Battens

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The facade volumes and pergolas let winter sun in but block spring sun.

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Shading System

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School Yard

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