Rosehill, Derby

Sure Start, Rosehill is a lively, colourful, nursery and community centre, wrapped around a south facing garden creating an oasis of calm for young children in a fairly busy and cosmopolitan area of Derby. ‘The Big Building’ was the winning entry when local school children were invited to choose a name.

The Big Building is designed around passive solar principles. It has highly insulated north facing walls with very few openings to minimize heat loss through the vulnerable fabric. South facing elevations are glazed and the office and nursery accommodation looks onto the south facing garden through a two-story atrium space. This passively heats the building. Heat gain is controlled by automatically opening and closing louvres to the patent glazing, which are also fitted with rain sensors. The building is designed to be entirely naturally ventilated with a free flow of air throughout the building.

Solar thermal cells to the roof supplement the hot water heating system. The building has a glulam timber frame structure that is exposed throughout. External walls to the northern elevation are block and brightly coloured render.

Rainwater is recycled and used for washing machines, for flushing the w.c's and for an outside water supply to the garden.

A focal point in the garden is our ‘solar tree’. The ‘tree’ supports photo-voltaic panels which will be used to charge batteries for an electric mini-bus, and will encourage children to think about sustainable design.

The garden is made secure by a stunning stainless steel ‘crinkle–crankle’ fence that incorporates seats and insects, which was designed by the sculptor Dennis O’Connor.