Holy Cross School

Location Swindon, United Kingdom
Services Building services engineering, sustainable design and acoustics engineering
Sector Education 
Client Diocese of Clifton
Architect Cullinan Studio
Imagery © Paul Raftery

Rob van Zyl

T +44 (0)121 262 2720

Holy Cross School is a new innovative, single storey primary school, built for the Diocese of Swindon as part of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP). This project saw the creation of a new £3.6m two-form entry primary school that was vital project to the town due to the shortage of school places.

The building is a prefabricated flat-pack school. Its timber frame took just three weeks to erect, the full building was completed in only 43 weeks and the school was built at an impressively cost-effective price of £1,425/m², fixtures and landscaping. The design of the building allows all classrooms to have direct access to covered external learning spaces with views over the playing fields. The single storey building with sloping roofs allows internal spaces to be naturally ventilated and lit.

The school is comprised of two wings, one containing classrooms with a connecting lower corridor with group rooms and areas for specialist learning; and the other containing the halls and admin spaces. The wings are zoned to allow differing patterns of operation; the main hall and small hall provides space for students in the day, and for local community use out of school hours.

Cundall was involved from the feasibility stage. The team helped the architect shape and form the internal environment of the teaching spaces to; maximise natural light,  promote cross flow natural ventilation, and to reduce excessive internal and external heat gains through clever use of overhanging roofs and tall pitched classroom soffits.

Furthermore, the design also had to consider road noise from a busy inner city dual carriageway, and again this was achieved by careful design of the roof pitches to provide screening to high level clearstory opening windows.

The building is passive in its nature, allowing the fixed building services (such as heating, lighting, power, life safety and security systems) to be kept as simple and as efficient as possible in this single storey building, resulting in a minimal build cost, and reduced whole life and operational costs.

The building achieved an EPC rating of B with no renewables.