Home Outdoor education Unique project sees Amberley School create imaginative outdoor space for pupils

Unique project sees Amberley School create imaginative outdoor space for pupils


The innovative, sculptural structure and play area was fully funded by the school’s supportive parent-teacher association and led by award-winning Slindon-based artists Mark and Rebecca Ford, Two Circles Design.

Two Circles Design works across education and art to create beautiful, unique structures from natural materials and draws inspiration from ancient traditions and techniques of willow craftsmanship and wood conservation.

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The project, which involved the whole school, was launched in July last year when Mark and Rebecca discussed organic architecture with the pupils at the assembly. Each class had time to generate design ideas based on natural forms, such as seeds, nests or the microscopic world, and participated in design workshops led by the Two Circles couple.

Pupils from Amberley School celebrate the opening of The Seedling

The student-led school council and eco-council considered the various ideas and produced an integrated final design, which resulted in a buildable structure with a winding grass roof, planted with spring bulbs.

The children came up with a long list of imaginative names for the structure, with ‘The Seedling’ voted as the winning choice.

Mark Ford explained: “It’s really important for young designers to discover that something in their imagination can be translated into a real three-dimensional building.

“This freestanding structure is constructed from locally sourced hazel and birch poles and clad in individually crafted leaf/feather shaped wooden shingles. It has a curved seating area allowing a whole class to take lessons outdoors.

Mark Ford cuts the ribbon at Amberley School

He added, “I really enjoyed working with Amberley School on this unique project.”

Ms Lizzie Martin, Executive Director of the Federation of Arun Villages, of which Amberley C of E Primary School is a member, said: “The wonderful contribution of the Friends of Amberley School Association funded the design and The Seedling facility, which adds to our a beautiful natural area, a dedicated forest school area and extensive grounds to give the school the best outdoor learning facility in Sussex.

“The Seedling will provide a unique teaching and learning space for children, as well as space to inspire creative play, teamwork and the building of friendships.”

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