Primary school of the future, English education building image, England biophilic architecture, UK Net-Zero property

Primary school of the future

18 November 2022

Education building designers TG Escapes, have shared their concept primary school of the future at Education Estates®, an annual gathering of the education community, in partnership with the Department for Education.

The design shows a Net-Zero, Biophilic, single-entry nursery and primary concept school to accommodate 300 children aged 0-11, for a building cost of £4m.

Primary school of the future: biophilic building

Primary school of the future design

Designed with the outdoors in mind

The design utilises separate pavilions for various functions, connected by covered walkways and canopies, arranged to envelop a central landscaped, terraced area with an outdoor class at its centre. Walkways replace much redundant internal circulation with time outdoors, supporting various measures such as seating, outdoor play and learning facilities, and sedum roofs.

Mark Brown, consultant at TG Escapes, comments:
“It is a completely biophilic environment providing outdoor learning for the majority of the curriculum. Bright, airy buildings provide joyful spaces with high ceilings, exposed timber and abundant glazing for natural ventilation and light. Clad in natural timber they feature large solar PV arrays for sustainable net-zero operation. Biodiversity is a priority with bird and bat boxes, insect-supporting structures, natural living roofs, rainwater capture and ongoing tree planting.”

Net-zero in operation and lifetime

Constructed almost entirely from timber, utilising Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to provide a low-cost, rapidly erected, high-performance, durable, low embodied carbon and net-zero operation school that is affordable to build, maintain and run in comparison to alternative building types. The layout, landscaping and design is considered to create a stimulating, wholesome and healthy environment. The carbon calculation shows that Whole Life Carbon (WLC) will be 201kgCO2e/m2 which comes well within the RIBA 2030 target.

In addition, this form of construction can encourage environmental citizenship among students. As they see a timber building rising it helps them to understand the principles of sustainable construction. This school can be built in stages to accommodate the cohorts as they move through the key stages. This will mean they see each additional building stage as it is developed and it’s possible because the modular construction process can be self-contained and kept safe which maintains education continuity everywhere else in the setting.

Why is there a need for biophilic design in schools?

Young people face the perfect storm; Covid, social media and other screen time, a rigid education system structured around exams and targets, a potential mental health crisis and their future skill requirements can be unknown. A biophilic environment is proven by many studies to help support these developmental needs.

Whole Life Carbon

Building: 198 tCO2e
Solar PV: 260 tCO2e
Sedum: 5 tCO2e
Total: 463 tCO2e
Estimated grid operational carbon saving: -338 tCO2e
Whole Life Carbon: 281 tCO2e = 201kgCO2e/m2

This exceeds the RIBA 2030 target for schools.

Duncan MurphyDirector of Education, MTM Consulting, adds:
“I am delighted to be involved in bringing TG Escapes’ vision of a biophilic school from concept to reality. Never has there been a more apposite time to marry the themes of sustainability and social mobility and embed them into a 21st century brand of education.”

A recent TG Escapes building case study:

The Benefits of Biophilic Design in Schools:
Film on YouTube


Research amongst children by Dr Rokhshid Ghaziani from the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth:

Costing analysis based on our turnkey sectional modular system (MMC Cat 2)

EBDOG benchmark survey for primary:
Average area per pupil – 5.69 m2
For the average 1984m2 = £2,224 pm2
BUT they add +10-15% for net zero = £2,500 pm2
TG Escapes Biophilic Concept School
Total cost to build accommodation excluding landscaping – £4m
Average area per pupil including circulation– 7.31 m2
Total area 2193 m2 = £1,823 pm2

UK primary school of the future biophilic building images / informatio received 171122

English School Building Designs

English School Buildings

English Education Architecture – recent selection on e-architect:

The Mitchell Building at Skinners’ School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, south east England
Design: Bell Phillips Architects
The Mitchell Building at Skinners School
photo : Kilian O’ Sullivan
The Mitchell Building at Skinners’ School, Kent

Brentwood Preparatory School, Essex
Design: Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture
Brentwood Preparatory School Building, Essex
photo : Anthony Coleman
Brentwood Preparatory School Building, Essex

Charterhouse Science & Mathematics Centre, Godalming
Architects: Design Engine
Charterhouse Science Mathematics Centre in Godalming - English school buildings
photography : Peter Blundy/Design Engine
Charterhouse Science & Mathematics Centre in Godalming

Mill Chase Academy Secondary School Building, Bordon, Hampshire
Design: HCC (Hampshire County Council) Architects
Mill Chase Academy Secondary School Building
image : Darcstudio
Mill Chase Academy Secondary School Building

Design Technology & Engineering Building at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, south east England
Architects: Design Engine
Stowe School Buckinghamshire England
image courtesy of architects practice
Stowe School in Buckinghamshire

Civitas Academy, Reading, Berkshire
Design: HCC (Hampshire County Council) Architects
Civitas Academy, Reading School Building
photo : Jim Stephenson
Civitas Academy Building

Art and Design Building, Bedales School, Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire
Design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Bedales School Building
photograph © Hufton+Crow
Art and Design Building, Bedales School

Holy Cross Primary School Building, Swindon, Wiltshire, Southwest England
Design: Cullinan Studio architects
Holy Cross Primary School, Swindon Building

More English School Buildings welcome

Location: England, UK

Architecture in England

English University Buildings

School Designs

English Architect

English Houses

English School Buildings Links

Feltonfleet School

Birkenhead School Building

Somerset College of Arts and Technology

Oxford Cherwell Valley College

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