Project Value





Tilbury Douglas

Project Brief

The UK’s first biophilic school.

We supported the exemplar design strategy by providing civil and structural solutions that helped this pilot scheme meet the DfE’s GenZero ultra-low carbon standard. The team worked together to significantly reduce embodied carbon and address whole life sustainability. Net Zero in operation, the use of biophilic principles and digital technologies engages occupants with the natural environment to boost creativity and productivity. We embraced a fully digitised design and delivery process.


Five timber-clad, single-storey buildings are arranged around a central courtyard and linked by a canopied walkway.

We worked closely with the landscape architect and main contractor to set the optimum levels of cut and fill, ensuring gentle level changes, minimising uni-log retaining walls, and agreeing the re-use of crushed material with the demolition contractor. Our reinforced concrete, ground-bearing raft slab enabled shallower excavations and used 50% GGBS to reduce embodied carbon. We designed and modelled the bi-fold door threshold upstand detail in 3D, helping to enhance the unique, polished concrete floor, retain the external canopy walkway, and ensure accurate setting out/model coordination.

For the superstructure, we provided a coordination and checking role. A lightweight, load-bearing system of exposed, structural insulated panels was used for its lower embodied carbon, high thermal, fire and acoustic performance, and to meet the fast-track programme.

We redesigned the steel canopy roof deck as a diaphragm to omit bracing and create a clear void. We detailed the resin anchor baseplate, calculated loads and provided setting-out details for the canopy sections and foundations. We also designed the supporting structure for heavy roof finishes e.g. sedum and photovoltaics, and aided integration of heat pumps and environmental technologies. To further support biodiversity, the SuDS solution enhances sensory learning with tactile features such as rain gardens, whilst protecting tree roots and existing drainage.