- Schools + FE

Chesham Preparatory School: Sustainable design in a green belt setting

Chesham Preparatory School

Schools + FE



Craig Cullimore


Our brief at Chesham Preparatory School was to design a suite of new facilities – a swimming pool, dining hall, performance space, and additional classrooms – along with landscapes around the buildings. The range of spaces presented opportunities as well as challenges, but the key hurdle to overcome was the fact that the site was on green belt land. We therefore needed to take a highly sensitive approach, letting the surrounding countryside lead the aesthetics of the buildings, and ensuring that their impact on the environment – both near and far – was as light as possible.

Approach + Solution

The School appointed us as Corde, our integrated design team with AKS Ward and KJ Tait. This helped us to take a holistic approach from the very beginning, using material choice and passive ventilation to make the buildings sustainable, and working from a shared BIM Level 2 model with our engineers to make the design process as efficient as possible.

Thanks to the new facilities, pupils can take part in a wider variety of sports within the school grounds. The development also complements the existing buildings and wider environment: we clad the swimming pool in timber, both helping it to blend into its countryside surroundings and reducing its carbon footprint. Careful choice of materials throughout the building and cutting-edge pool technologies improved the project’s sustainability even further. It’s a development which hugely benefits staff and pupils, while staying true to its setting.

“The school has excellent teaching and sporting opportunities, which will be enhanced by the school’s investment in new facilities.”