A new display, built by architecture students, which shows how to insulate existing homes efficiently and sustainably, is currently being constructed at the Centre for Alternative Technology.
In a new venture, in which the Academic Courses run at CAT are working with CAT’s Visitor Centre staff, architecture students on the Professional Diploma course have been working with the Displays department to build a new exhibit. This also gives the architecture students valuable hands-on experience with various construction techniques. The plan is to build three different types of traditional wall plus a section of roof to show how they can be insulated to improve the energy efficiency of houses. Visitors to CAT will be able to identify the type of construction their house is made of and get ideas and information on how to insulate them efficiently.
As part of their project, the students spent time researching traditional construction methods and ways to improve them using sustainable materials. As architecture students rarely get a chance to actually build what they design this project has been an eye-opener for all concerned. To teach the skills required, Brian Clarke, a tutor from Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, Dolgellau has been brought in under a reciprocal arrangement with CAT. Brian usually teaches 16 year old apprentices on 13 week courses & so has had to fast-track his programme to fit into the four days available
“This is as much an experience for them as it is for me” says Brian who hasn’t visited CAT for 25 years. In exchange, Duncan Roberts, the Programme Leader of the Professional Diploma in Architecture at CAT, will give guided tours of the various buildings at CAT to the students of Dolgellau college to illustrate the range of innovative building techniques developed over the last 35 years. It is hoped that this partnership will be developed in coming years to the benefit of both organisations.
The architecture students have now built the examples of original construction and will work on adding insulation to them next month. The display should be completed by Easter for visitors to CAT to come and see.