Thornhill Primary School - Engenuiti, KLH UK, & ECD Architects

Project Details

Project - Thonhill Primary School

Sector - Education

Technology - CLT

Company - Engenuiti, KLH UK, & ECD Architects

Project Overview

The school is a key focal point for the residential led masterplan of Linmere – a rapidly expanding town in Bedfordshire. This project by ECD Architects has expanded Thornhill Primary School from a one-form entry school to a three-form entry school, with a new building designed to Passivhaus Standard – there are thirteen certified Passivhaus  schools in the UK to date (as of March 2021, Passivhaus Trust).

The project includes carefully designed connections in hard and soft landscaping between the new and existing buildings. A suspended walkway wraps around the entire two storey section of the building, providing valuable breakout space for smaller group learning, and connecting teaching with the outdoors. At the heart of the school is a spacious double height entrance atrium adjacent to the new double height sports / dining hall, with cranked glulam beams and an ultrathin CLT roof deck. The project places   sustainability at the forefront of the design to create a healthy learning environment, which is underlined by the new building’s implementation of Passivhaus techniques and incorporation of sustainable construction materials and offsite methods.

The exposed timber throughout gives all occupants, particularly the children, the chance to benefit from the improved wellbeing that studies have linked to the use of timber in learnings spaces. Passivhaus was selected to ensure the new facility’s quality of construction, while also providing significant benefits to the whole life cycle cost, a reduction in its financial running costs when compared with standard UK Building Regulations, while also improving thermal comfort and indoor air quality – we have expanded upon each of these points in the responses to questions in the submission.

The principles of circular economy were also followed within the design, with CLT selected as the primary structural material for its low embodied carbon and both materials and
buildings considered for their possible future uses and recyclability. The use of CLT as an offsite, prefabricated method of construction also ensured a reduction in construction waste. Thornhill Primary School created an exciting result for the client – one in which they hope to use as a precedent for aiming for strong low energy and sustainability  standards within the local authority’s future projects.