Dulwich College, Junior and Lower School

Dulwich College, Junior and Lower School

From the outset, Dulwich College have prioritised the sustainability aspect of the series of ongoing extensions and refurbishment works, and set the aspiration to be net zero carbon in both construction and operational energy.

Dulwich College is a highly regarded, academically selective independent day and boarding school, endeavouring to make pupils from all backgrounds feel equally valued. This project focussed on an overhaul of its Junior School for boys from Year 3 to Year 6, as well as the Lower School (Year 7 and Year 8).

Working alongside alma-nac, engineersHRW, B|D Landscape Architects and Quantem Consulting, we are providing Net Zero Carbon consultancy, M&E Engineering and Acoustics.

"The challenge on this project was to design M&E systems that meet the net zero carbon aspirations, while also providing excellent air quality all year round and especially during winter, when people are more reluctant to open windows. Our solution was a simple mechanical ventilation system that provides fresh air into all occupied spaces, helping minimise the build-up of pathogens in the rooms. The ventilation system was designed to be as straightforward as possible with short duct runs, reducing the amount of material required and consequently the embodied carbon." - Alexia Charisi, Engineer and Partner at Max Fordham

The project sits within the campus-wide masterplan, drawn up by John McAslan + Partners a decade ago for Dulwich College, which has occupied the site in south-east London since the 1860s. Revamping existing school buildings, the current library building will be replaced with a new ‘knowledge exchange’, providing a 225-person hall for the Junior School, an arts wing, a two-storey administration building and wellbeing centre for the Lower School, plus improved play spaces. The new buildings will be made from a palette of concrete, timber, and brick to complement the campus’s historic Charles Barry Jr red brick and stone blocks, and feature exemplar engineering solutions designed to the highest standards.

"High levels of acoustic performance are maintained alongside the environmental and sustainability demands. In order to meet acoustic and thermal performance criteria, we're using mixed mode ventilation with a combination of mechanical ventilation and attenuated natural ventilation openings in certain spaces. In some areas, we're incorporating acoustic absorption while ensuring high levels of thermal mass can still be utilised." - Josh Rodell, Acoustic Engineer and Partner at Max Fordham

Catering to the brief seeking to implement practical and sustainable design strategies across the estate, we worked extensively with the college to complete an energy and carbon study which included detailed operational energy modelling and embodied carbon analysis, based on the Stage 2 design. We then modelled several design options (including improved fabric, heat pumps and CLT) to assess the relative carbon contributions, and worked with Quantem to determine the cost-per-tonne of CO2 reduction for the different options. This enabled the college to choose the most efficient and cost-effective carbon reduction measures.

As an outcome of our energy and carbon study, the project was included in NLA's 'Resilient London' report.








Dulwich College

(c) alma-nac/darcstudio Info
Attenuated openings have been incorporated into the facade to provide ventilation while minimising the effects of road noise
(c) alma-nac/darcstudio Info
A proposed double height circulation spine on the north elevation provides a natural ventilation route to adjoining existing classrooms that suffer from overheating
(c) alma-nac/darcstudio Info
The new Junior School Hall features a top-lit elevated roof to maintain good daylight levels
(c) alma-nac/darcstudio Info
A new double height entrance atrium connects new admin spaces to the Lower School and to the courtyard playground
(c) alma-nac/darcstudio Info
Exploded view of the Junior and Lower School project