Aga Khan Academy, Bangladesh

This low-energy school in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has a climate responsive design to work with the challenging local weather conditions and temperatures.

Children playing in front of a red brick school with trees in the foreground

Key information


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios


Aga Khan Academies



Year of Completion




The Aga Khan Academy provides academic sports and arts facilities for 1,200 students. Set on a 17-acre site in the northeast of Dhaka, the design is set around a central ‘maiden’, a tree-lined central field that acts as a green lung for the school, creating a cool microclimate, and providing a calm, focal space for the campus.

Bangladesh has a challenging climate. Hot, humid and tropical with average temperatures between 18-29°C, it sees an average rainfall of 2,200mm per year. We carried out detailed thermal and comfort modelling and analysis to maximise the period that comfortable temperatures could be achieved using passive and low-tech equipment. 

The classrooms are orientated to minimise solar gain in summer, with external walkways and adjacent buildings set out to provide passive solar shading from the morning sun throughout the year, while also providing good daylight and views out.

A large field with brown grass and some buildings in the distance Children run on a playing school in front of a red brick school on a sunny day

Adaptive thermal comfort

We took an adaptive thermal comfort approach to reduce energy consumption by allowing internal temperatures to follow the seasons. During the cooler periods this approach relies on people being able to adapt to their local environment and incremental changes in external conditions, controlling comfort by increasing air movement with ceiling fans. This extends the passive period and reduces plant running time. Natural ventilation driven by the brickwork chimneys provides fresh air for the pupils.

During the warmer periods, mechanical ventilation with coolth recovery can be engaged to reduce temperature and humidity when required. Higher space temperatures are made comfortable by using mechanical cooling in combination with ceiling fans, providing the required level of comfort for pupils and teachers.


local average temperatures


yearly average rainfall

"This was an amazing project to see come to life on the other side of the world using adaptive thermal comfort techniques to extend the passive season and reduce energy consumption, in a country where the impact of climate change is so clear to see."

Head and shoulders portrait of man against a black background

Director, MEP Engineering