Sector: ,


University of Cambridge Primary School NWCD

Construction value:


Design team:


Willmott Dixon Construction


Marks Barfield Architects

Main Contractor: 

Willmott Dixon Construction

Project Managers: 

Turner & Townsend

BIM and Revit capability help create a unique learning environment



The new University of Cambridge Primary School was designed to be an inspiring learning community for children. Its unusual circular design evolved from discussions with experts in both primary education and the University’s Faculty of Education to incorporate current educational approaches. The first facility of its kind in the UK, the school aims to offer a high quality education for children, from Reception to Year 6, that is ambitious, innovative and inclusive for all.



Whilst the unusual shape of the building is ideal for a contemporary learning and teaching environment it created interesting challenges for the services distribution. The design had to meet the criteria for the specific planning conditions as well as achieve a BREEAM Excellent  rating.



We were appointed to produce a BIM model using Revit for the main MEP services infrastructure of the building. We then provided full electrical and mechanical design services including low energy lighting and a data installation that incorporated both an open school network and a closed university network. Our design has created a naturally ventilated building with underfloor heating and an incoming water service delivering potable and non-potable supplies.  The non-potable water is drawn from a district rain water recovery system and serves WCs throughout the building.


Sustainability initiatives included a large PV array set to achieve a CO2 saving of 36% in order to meet planning conditions. We also produced a full dynamic building model and analysis to verify the building’s compliance with BREEAM credit Hea 01 “Visual Comfort” for daylighting. This model was also used to assess the building’s energy profile and performance.



Our expertise has been instrumental in creating an innovative and flexible new school that from September 2015 will serve 63 children aged 4-11 years. The school will also meet the needs of teacher training and educational research as part of the new North West Cambridge Development.