Duncton School, West Sussex

In 2017, West Sussex County Council commissioned Burns Guthrie to carry out feasibility studies for 14 schools. In the case of Duncton, the challenge was to design a new school to amalgamate the existing and separate infant and junior schools into one new school. This involved extensive discussions with both schools, the Local Education Authority and the Diocese. It was important that the design inspired and won approval from all stakeholders and had to allow the school to operate during construction work.

The proposed plan consisted of a single unified curved arc of teaching spaces and a more rectilinear block of core support facilities. The intermediate space was designed as a ‘street’ of interactive social space, resource and group teaching spaces. The external common playground followed the arc of the teaching spaces. The principal entrance is at the southern end, with a sequence of classes from nursery through the year groups. A second entrance divides the infant and junior classrooms and affords access for community use of the school hall.

The building was designed with Passivhaus standards in mind. To help prevent summer overheating, green roofs face south, and the roof line extends down in the form of brise soleil to provide summer solar shading. Classroom glazing orientation provides natural light and, during the winter months, maximises morning solar gain.