Outside the school. Photo by Peter Cook
Daylight shaft

Education Project

Mulgrave Primary School

London Borough Of Greenwich
Dannatt, Johnson Architects

The School

The bold structure is clad in oak boarding, set above the shaped terracing and planting beds, and around the old existing Mulgrave pond. The entrance is an internal court, meeting place and the school's centre. It links the main wings, the assembly hall and the upper school, forming a sculptural piece over two storeys at the heart of the school.


The building makes extensive use of materials from sustainable sources. Blown paper insulation in the walls, sandwiched between the oak cladding and plasterboard facing, provides a U-value of only 0.15 W/m²/K. Summer overheating is avoided using electric awnings for the outdoor play area, and electric windows.

Daylight and Natural Ventilation

Cross-flow ventilation and deep, even daylight are provided by an innovative system of interwoven shafts to bring air and light to the back of the classroom, together with windows at the front. Alternate upper and lower classrooms obtain light and air respectively from the same shaft, which is then easier to accommodate within the building footprint.

Acoustic Treatment

Reverberation times in the rooms are tuned to the ideal value using perforated timber facings. These provide sound-absorbance while maintaining a clean surface.