Learning Pavilion

An outdoor classroom and learning landscape in Skerries, County Dublin

We were awarded First Prize in an open competition for the design and construction of an outdoor classroom and learning landscape for Skerries Educate Together primary school. Our approach was to design a ‘natural’ landscape of hills, dips and clearings into which we placed a simple timber classroom. The structure is built from native Irish douglas fir and larch on a lightweight timber substructure. Two hills have been created to enclose an outdoor amphitheatre for play and performances. Other landscape features, which will be added in phases, include a pond, willow maze, orchard and horticulture garden.

The frame of the pavilion was constructed from Irish larch and the deck was built from Irish Douglas fir. The roof was clad in Canadian cedar shingles and the underside was left exposed to reveal its skeletal construction. The eaves of the roof are low to provide a child-friendly scale and to strike a balance between openness to the surroundings and protective enclosure.

Two grassy mounds were created to contain an amphitheatre for play and performances. The amphitheatre was assembled using pressure-treated Irish softwood planks on stepped blockwork supports. A circular stage was formed at the centre using identical planks. Together, the Learning Pavilion and amphitheatre provide a rich, sensory environment in which children can appreciate natural materials in an informal, playful setting.

Special Mention 2016 AAI Awards Outdoor Classroom & Learning Landscape

First Prize 2013 Per Cent for Art Commission

Project Type Outdoor classroom and learning landscape
Location Skerries, Co. Dublin
Size 20m²
Status Completed 2014
Competition Percent for Art Winner
Photography Ste Murray


“It’s simple. There are even small details like…a good seat in the grass…no nonsense, just what you need”
— Marie José Van Hee, AAI Awards Jury 2016

“What a brilliant place for kids”
Simon Walker, AAI Awards Jury 2016


See what the AAI Awards Jury 2016 had to say about the Learning Pavilion. Read the full piece here.


37 North Great George’s Street,
Dublin 1, Ireland, D01 A3F8

Call +353 (0)1 872 7904
Email studio@rba.ie