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Highfields School

Area       30,000 sq.ft.

Location  Matlock, United Kingdom

Year       2017 

Status     Concept 

Team      Amrutha Kishor

Program  Institutional

The Highfields School at Matlock, UK is a coeducational secondary comprehensive school. It currently has facilities for students from Year 9 to Year 13. The school has another branch for students of Year 7 and 8 located over a mile away from the main campus. This is a design proposal for a new block for the school located alongside the main block which increases the convenient functioning of the school. 

The new block for the school has been designed based on environmental strategies to facilitate high energy efficiency. Passive techniques and carefully calculated solutions for ventilation, solar gain and thermal comfort have been implemented to ensure that the new block for the school would be a space that would truly help the students 'Be the best you can'. 

"The experience of schools for children is often defined by what happens between lessons and outside the classroom and it is the nature of the in-between spaces that creates or destroys a healthy social environment in schools." 

The new block designed was based on how the space would be perceived by a student. A space that nurtured. A space that encouraged creative thinking and learning. A space that made the child feel safe. A space that encouraged friendships. 

The new block was given abundant daylighting to provide a sense of warmth and security. A colour theme of white with multiple pastel shades was selected to reflect light as well as give a lively feel to the school. Good visual connectivity between the different blocks of the school was incorporated to increase a sense of familiarity between the students.  

The new block for the Highfield's school comes with many facilities like a lunch area, music and dance studios, a library, laboratories and a design and technology space.

These have been designed with the help of evidence-based simulations such as Autodesk Solar tool to determine the efficiency of the shading devices, Sefaira to ensure sufficient daylighting and Optivent to confirm the good performance of the ventilation strategies.


The material properties of the building play a major role in maintaining thermal comfort levels. 

The total energy used is found to be 87kWh/m2/yr which is fairly close to the 2030 Global target of 80kWh/m2/yr. The total energy requirement, along with U-values, heating and cooling demands and compactness factor fulfil Passivhaus standards.

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