2 min read
21 Jul 2022

SGP’s Better Buildings toolkit launched to a wider audience

By Simon Matthews

Stephen George + Partners (SGP) is delighted that their Better Buildings toolkit has not only gone live in the Midlands but has also launched in London.

We have previously worked with Tardebigge CE First School, a primary school in a rural location outside Bromsgrove, to use the Better Buildings website to introduce Year 4 children to traditional and alternative building materials before letting them loose to design their own low carbon building.

Following the successful launch, we were asked, as part of the practice’s SGP+You programme, to visit SMSJ (St Mary’s & St John’s CE school) in Barnet, north London and work with the entire Year 5 (and later Year 6), in an assembly style situation. Simon Matthews, Better Buildings Programme lead, talked briefly about traditional, and then the alternative, materials described on the Better Buildings website, encouraging discussion and questions (prompting a forest of raised hands), and helping the children to design their own buildings using large drawing sheets created by SGP. The children developed a sectional view of their structure, as well as explaining their choice of building and materials, and why they designed it that way. In total Simon spoke to nearly 200 pupils.

Explains Simon: “Bringing the Better Buildings web platform into two real schools has also confirmed how such resources can help primary school teachers, who are expected to teach on every subject, to deliver interesting and accessible lessons on a variety of national curriculum subjects, such as design & technology.

“We’ve also seen how much the teachers like how the Better Buildings website makes curriculum connections, such as using mathematics in addressing scale and calculating carbon in materials. The children really understand the carbon calculator, seeing on screen how carbon in materials is portrayed. They are quick to use it and take it forward in discussions on different materials and their uses.”

Concludes Simon: “Children are hugely creative and take us down the most unexpected roads. Some were surprised you could use earth as a building material, and wanted us to explain why it didn’t fall down. When we were talking about using concrete in foundations, one child challenged us to find more sustainable alternatives. We’re working on that.”

We are looking forward to rolling out the Better Buildings Programme further in the not too distant future. For further information visit our Better Buildings website or email

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