In addressing how buildings are conceived, constructed and inhabited, Great Notley Primary School is a prototypical architectural response to the demands of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. A low-lying, turf-roofed triangular building sits discreetly in a landscape. A plimsoll line, or ‘window zone’, circumnavigates its elevations to reference the horizontality of the landscape and emphasise the rises and falls of the building’s roofscape. Inside, six classrooms are organised along one edge of the triangle while all other accommodation is arranged around a central internal court; a move which limits dedicated circulation space to a single corridor to reduce the overall area by almost 10 per cent and so redirect the saving to better specification. Steep rooflights bring light and air deep into building’s centre and ensure that each classroom benefits from southern sunlight. Both overtly modern and subtly understated, the school’s ‘triangularity’ is a distinctive tool to efficiently accommodate the varied spaces demanded by a modern school. The project was won in a Design Council commissioned open competition.

  • 2001 Civic Trust Award
  • 2000 RIBA Award for Architecture
  • 2000 RIBA Sustainability Award for Architecture
  • 2000 British Construction Industry Award - High Commendation
  • 2000 Royal Fine Arts Commission Trust Awards – Building of the Year
  • 1999 CIBSE Award for Innovation Millennium Products Status
  • 1999 Egan Demonstration Project
Essex County Council
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Essex County Council
Main contractor
Jackson Building
Structural engineers
Atelier One
Service engineers
Atelier Ten
Landscape architect
Jonathan Watkins Landscape
Cost consultants
The Cook & Butler Partnership
Planning supervisor
Appleyard & Trew
Public Art
Hartley & Kovats