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Harris Academy Sutton

Architype has designed the UK's first Passivhaus-certified secondary school – and its biophilic elements are making pupils more alert

Harris Academy, Architype.
Harris Academy, Architype. Credit: Jack Hobhouse

Architype for London Borough of Sutton
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 10,625m2

Harris Academy Sutton is the UK’s first Passivhaus-certified secondary school, and the largest Passivhaus school in the country. Powered only by a single domestic-scale boiler, the school sets an impressive sustainability benchmark, easily achieving RIBA 2030 targets for operational carbon emissions and being enabled for net-zero carbon. 

Judges praised both the sustainability performance and the way the four-storey design sits seamlessly within the sloping landscape, avoiding the sense of a large or imposing building. The form deftly negotiates the suburban neighbourhood to the north and the impending research complex to the south.

Externally, copper and anodised aluminium contrast playfully with the vertical larch panels that clad the larger mass of the school. Inside, the cross-laminated timber structure is celebrated. Teachers observe that students are more alert even after a long day due to biophilic elements in the school's design.

  • Harris Academy, Architype.
    Harris Academy, Architype. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Harris Academy, Architype.
    Harris Academy, Architype. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Harris Academy, Architype.
    Harris Academy, Architype. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Harris Academy, Architype.
    Harris Academy, Architype. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
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