GRID Education

Carter Williamson Architects

GRID Education is an ambitious collaboration between Carter Williamson Architects and Burwood Girls High School. It is a 1:1 demonstration to students of how sustainability and small-house living can contribute to a more sustainable future. GRID was developed as a sustainable prefabricated housing prototype, which can be assembled quickly, erected anywhere and transported cheaply and easily to diverse and remote locations after natural disasters.

Burwood Girls High School runs a ‘Sustainable House’ subject as part of its Science Technology Engineering & Maths (STEM) programs. Carter Williamson were involved in the program by tutoring and judging sustainable house designs and models produced by the students. This relationship led to the installation of GRID Education, which is being used to deepen the students’ understanding of what it means to be sustainable.

GRID can be arrayed in different configurations to adapt to specific community, family and cultural contexts – including its current configuration as a classroom. It challenges the typical notion of a home, as well as a classroom. The hope is that the architecture and joy of GRID will inspire the students, encourage them to think more sustainably, and lead to a demand for better prefabricated classrooms.

The strategy for GRID Education was to devise both an ‘ideal’ and a ‘re-use’ system that could operate interchangeably in all conditions. In disaster zones the materials would comprise objects and materials retrieved from debris. In less compromised circumstances, such as in a school, GRID would be pre-fabricated off-site, transported ‘flat-packed’ by road, and assembled within a day. The new classroom at Burwood Girls High School was delivered overnight, minimising impact to student life. GRID Education is self-sustaining; it doesn’t need to be hooked up to water, sewer or electrical mains. Rather, it runs off-GRID.

Photography: Ben Guthrie.