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The BREEAM 'Outstanding' Nightingale Primary School extends Max Fordham’s long-standing relationship with the London Borough of Hackney.

The innovative mixed-use development replaces an existing building with a new campus that doubles the student capacity at the school and is organised around external play spaces and 89 new residential units.

Working alongside Hawkins\Brown, Babcock International, McLaren Construction and Kier Education Services, we provided M&E, Sustainability Consultancy, Soft Landings and BREEAM for this project.

Innovatively addressing an urgent need in Hackney for both new school places and homes, the project replaces an existing school with a double capacity new school, organised around external play spaces and new residential units. The latter were placed facing across Hackney Downs park, where the scale of the expansive park allowed the towers to be taller and provide 89 units. In addition to optimising the performance of the site-wide energy strategy, the co-location of Nightingale Primary School and the residential development reduced the overall external envelope and provided a degree of self-shading to reduce overheating. Moreover, it functioned as an innovative funding model for other local authorities with limited funding to deliver outstanding schools.

We provided site-wide Combined Heat and Power (CHP) that serves both the school and residential development, with the provision for the future connection of a district heating scheme. Additionally, the school is supported by a rooftop PV array.

The Soft Landings approach included two years of post occupancy evaluation (POE). This provided regular reviews of the energy consumption and internal environmental conditions. Improvement strategies were decided upon by the aftercare team, which included fine tuning controls, seasonal commissioning tweaks and management and teacher education sessions. The school are passionate about ensuring that their carbon emissions and energy bills are kept as low as possible, with their energy consumption aligning with the "low" target set during the design stage, meaning that the performance is significantly better than industry benchmarks. 

The school is aiming to achieve ‘Healthy Schools’ status by encouraging pupils and the wider community to achieve a healthier lifestyle outside of school as well as in it.

Hackney set a target of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for the project, including specific BREEAM-based targets that contribute to healthy and productive learning environments. At final completion, the project actually achieved the higher ‘Outstanding’ rating. This was accomplished by the client, contractor and design team focusing on creating an excellent school experience. Specific attention was given to analysis of the indoor environments, using the lifecycle carbon assessment as a design tool, and the biodiverse landscaping and green roofs being used for learning.

Nightingale Primary School and Nursery won the award for Public Project (Design Stage) at the BREEAM Awards 2018 and was shortlisted for the RIBA London Regional Awards 2020.

Project information

Status: Completed

Location: London Borough of Hackney

Size: 89 Units




Client: London Borough of Hackney

Architects: Hawkins \ Brown

Structural Engineer: Babcock International

Services Engineer: Max Fordham

Contractor: McLaren Construction 

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What people are saying about FOOTPRINT+

What people are saying about FOOTPRINT+

  • FOOTPRINT+ is the place to showcase how we can build sustainable developments and reduce the carbon footprint of building projects. In tackling the climate crisis, these are the conversations we need to be having.
    Peter Kyle
    MP for Hove, Shadow Minister for Justice
  • Despite the global impact of COVID-19 the UK property industry is resilient. FOOTPRINT will provide a forum for everyone to create a deliverable agenda for sustainable growth in the UK property market.
    Francis Hilton
    Pelican Developments
  • The construction sector has a huge role to play in enabling Local Authorities to meet ambitious carbon zero targets. I believe that FOOTPRINT will be the event that supports the creative discussions and working relationships required to achieve Zero Carbon living.
    Duncan Baker-Brown
    Architect, Lecturer at University of Brighton & Campaigner for Circular Economy
  • At last an event that addresses the key issues facing design, construction and development in the UK. The rich mix of consultants, clients, stakeholders and government together with the great location will make Footprint a huge success.
    Paul Monaghan Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects
    Liverpool City Region Design Champion and founding member of Architects Declare
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    Founder of Scape Student Living
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    Executive Director Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership
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    James Blakey
    Planning Director Moda Living
  • FOOTPRINT+ has been set up to answer a need in the property market. We have all traipsed off to the South of France previously to meet up and discuss property issues. This is no longer a responsible action given the carbon footprint of getting there. Combined with the exit of Britain from the EU, we, in the UK market need to meet and discuss our national and international concerns. FOOTPRINT+ is set up to permit us to do this in an accessible, affordable and responsible way
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    Director Edge Ahead Limited