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The Project started with a student assignment carried out by the College's HNC Construction students. They wanted to provide a new resource for the construction industry to promote new ways of thinking and building.

In the 1970s the College had previously built, with the local education authority, a building to help the industry learn how to adapt from imperial measurements to metric. A great many construction workers were retrained using the building. After it had served its purpose, the building was demolished in 2000, and the land was available for the next generation of building. The students and staff felt that sustainability was the priority, and an area of expertise that was underdeveloped in the College.

The students produced some amazing designs and the College, with the help of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) approached the Regional Development Agency with a view to turning the student project into a reality. Everyone involved could see the potential of such a resource in the South West and 2 years later, we dug the foundations to build the Genesis Centre. It was designed by the Architects, Architype, who have many accolades for their award winning sustainable designs.

Genesis is now well known throughout the region and has been visited by people worldwide.

Kevin McCloud of 'Grand Designs' is our patron.

Somerset College was extremely fortunate during both the design and construction phase of Centre to have the support and guidance of the ECOS Trust, formally Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development, to help formulate the brief and challenge the design team.

It is a regional sustainable construction resource centre that:

  • Delivers education and training in sustainable construction
  • Focuses on the regeneration of traditional buildings
  • Provides learning resources and materials, in a range of media, to other training and education partners in the region
  • Delivers activities, curriculum packages and events to primary, secondary, further and university level education to promote sustainable practise beyond the initial construction remit.
  • Explores, explains and evaluates cutting edge thinking in sustainable construction by introducing the use of sustainable practices and materials into mainstream construction industry
  • Consists of a series of pavilions constructed of earth, straw, clay and timber, with living roofs, and a water pavilion demonstrating the latest water-saving devices
  • Promotes energy saving and uses both solar and biomass forms of energy


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