Creative Construction: Completing the Little Build

“One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure” as the famous saying goes and we at LoveMilton enjoy turning the old and used into new exciting builds that will improve the community of Milton.

Using an old  shipping container we at LoveMilton alongside our friendly and helpful volunteers have turned something old and unwanted into an outdoor shelter for the pupils and teachers of Miltonbank Primary School.

Originally designed by second year architecture students from Glasgow School of Art, we built our shelter, better known as the Little Build, through several courses, volunteer sessions and events.

Work first started on the Little Build back in 2011. After an initial blast of energy and excitement we had to put things on hold until last summer when we ran a three week course to try and finish the main structural elements of the build. A three-day green roofing course was next working in partnership with the SEDAbuild School which sealed the roof and provided a new habitat for plants and creepy crawlies on the roof of the building.

The Little Build before the Creative Construction course. It's looking good

During the courses our volunteers got the opportunity to learn the health and safety theory behind construction to gain their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards, allowing them to work on building sites, they learnt hands on practical skills on site helping to build the Little Build and then every Thursday volunteers had the chance to head out into the Scottish wilderness with Wild By Nature who took them canoeing, gaining their 1 star canoeing award as well as contributing to a John Muir Award. 

Over the last year LoveMilton has been working in partnership with SEDA (Scottish Ecological Design Association) to develop training courses which are open to people from outside Milton and that will also begin to generate an income allowing us to deliver higher quality courses through the SEDAbuild School.

The green roofing course that ran over three-days, the first of its kind, saw half the participants coming from outside Milton and paid to attend the course while our LoveMilton volunteers were able to attend the course for free. Thanks to this added income generation we were able to ask leading green roof expert Dusty Gedge to come and help us teach the course. The course was a fantastic success and we look forward to watching the green roof grow over the next couple of years.

Volunteers working on the green roof for the Little Build.

The Little Build project was finally finished over a couple of long weekend volunteering sessions orgainsed in collaboration with SEDAbuild School. The first weekend was a design workshop where people came together to help solve some of the design problems proposed by the project.:What is the best way to get into the shelter? Do we need to build a ramp or some steps? How should we finish the inside of that shelter what furniture need to be designed and built and finally due to the enthusiasm of some of the school parents how can we design a chicken coop so that the school can keep chickens?

Over three-days (20 – 22 March 2015) volunteers of all levels of expertise came together to turn the designs created by participants of a SEDAbuild School Design Workshop into reality using reclaimed materials, homemade natural paint and lots of enthusiasm. 

Several large tasks were achieved by our participants including the completion of a chicken coop, stairs to allow easier access into the shelter and furniture for inside the shelter. There was a lot of fun during the course and over the three-days we became one step closer to completing the Little Build to allow access to everyone in Miltonbank Primary. 

The finished chicken coop!

As the shelter is for children it is important that a colourful area was in place. It is also important that we at LoveMilton stay environmentally friendly, so alongside using reclaimed materials we decided to make our own paint! During the Creative Construction course participants came together to make quark (cheese made from milk and lemon juice) that was added with lime putty mixed together with natural coloured pigments that have soaked in water and vodka. The colours came out great and we managed to get the boxes and window frames painted a bright Moroccan Green and Greek Blue.

Boxes made during the Creative Construction long weekend painted with our natural paint.

Without the help of our volunteers the Little Build would have taken much longer to complete and we have to thank them deeply for all the hard work and time that they have all dedicated to this project. From the success of the Little Build, LoveMilton are now even more driven to start work on our self-build training centre and longer term on our proposed community centre. We hope to use the skills volunteers have gained through our training courses so far and look forward to updating you all in the near future when we get started.