Michael Tippett School
Marks Barfield’s Michael Tippett School is the first 'Building Schools for the Future' (BSF) project in London, accommodating up to 80 students aged between 11 and 18 with profound and multiple learning difficulties. It opened just 21 months after its design was commissioned and only nine months after work started on site. Sustainability was central to the brief. The form of the building is determined by the section through the classrooms which maximizes natural light and ventilation with concrete soffits to maximize thermal mass. The school has a sedum roof providing both insulation to keep energy bills down in the winter and a natural habitat for plants and small wildlife which also serves as a visual, educational tool for the pupils and minimising rain runoff. We worked extremely closely with the school and its input, as end-user, was invaluable in shaping the brief to its requirements. Visits were made together with the teachers to similar schools to gain a full understanding of their aspirations and to broaden their idea of what was possible – this in addition to considerable time spent in the existing schools observing how a typical day worked.

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