Thornhill Primary School Expansion

Linmere, Central Bedfordshire

This 3-form entry school facility which we designed for Thornhill Primary has been certified to the Passivhaus Standard.

Location: Linmere, Central Bedfordshire

Client: Central Bedfordshire Council

Project Value: £7.7m

Status: Complete

Specialisation: New build Passivhaus School

This project expands Thornhill Primary from a one-form entry to a three-form entry school through the addition of a new building. This building has been certified to the Passivhaus Standard.  

The new school facility stitches existing and new contexts together with a landmark building strategically positioned to address the new town square of the Houghton Regis North development masterplan. The expanded school separates the year groups between the two buildings yet presents as a single facility designed to support alternative methods of learning and offer a platform for both school and community events. 

The height and scale of the mass of the new school is representative of the pupil’s progression through the school year groups. The lower form is located closest to the existing school building, continuing its massing scale for the transition of the early pupils to the new building, before entering the two-story wing for later year groups.  

Following the principles of circular economy, materials were selected for their low embodied carbon and considered for their possible future uses and recyclability. For this reason, CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) was selected as the primary structural material for the new building.  

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for your hard work on the Thornhill scheme; it has been very refreshing to work with designers like yourselves on this project. It really is an exciting project for us internally and will hopefully set a precedent for aiming for higher energy and sustainability standards on CBC capital projects.” 

– Mark Rees, Project Manager of Central Bedfordshire Council 


  • Winner: Pagabo Awards: Best project delivering sustainability outcomes 
  • Shortlisted: Offsite Awards: Building Performance Pioneer Category 
  • Shortlisted: Structural Timber Awards: Low Energy Project of the Year Category 

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