Nightingale Primary School

Nightingale Primary School

The BREEAM 'Outstanding' Nightingale Primary School extends Max Fordham’s long-standing relationship with the London Borough of Hackney. The innovative mixed-use development replaces an existing building with a new campus that doubles the student capacity at the school and is organised around external play spaces and 89 new residential units.

Working alongside Hawkins\Brown, Babcock International, McLaren Construction and Kier Education Services, we provided M&E, Sustainability Consultancy, Soft Landings and BREEAM for this project.

Innovatively addressing an urgent need in Hackney for both new school places and homes, the project replaces an existing school with a double capacity new school, organised around external play spaces and new residential units. The latter were placed facing across Hackney Downs park, where the scale of the expansive park allowed the towers to be taller and provide 89 units. In addition to optimising the performance of the site-wide energy strategy, the co-location of Nightingale Primary School and the residential development reduced the overall external envelope and provided a degree of self-shading to reduce overheating. Moreover, it functioned as an innovative funding model for other local authorities with limited funding to deliver outstanding schools.

We provided site-wide Combined Heat and Power (CHP) that serves both the school and residential development, with the provision for the future connection of a district heating scheme. Additionally, the school is supported by a rooftop PV array.

The Soft Landings approach included two years of post occupancy evaluation (POE). This provided regular reviews of the energy consumption and internal environmental conditions. Improvement strategies were decided upon by the aftercare team, which included fine tuning controls, seasonal commissioning tweaks and management and teacher education sessions. The school are passionate about ensuring that their carbon emissions and energy bills are kept as low as possible, with their energy consumption aligning with the "low" target set during the design stage, meaning that the performance is significantly better than industry benchmarks. 

The school is aiming to achieve ‘Healthy Schools’ status by encouraging pupils and the wider community to achieve a healthier lifestyle outside of school as well as in it.

Hackney set a target of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for the project, including specific BREEAM-based targets that contribute to healthy and productive learning environments. At final completion, the project actually achieved the higher ‘Outstanding’ rating. This was accomplished by the client, contractor and design team focusing on creating an excellent school experience. Specific attention was given to analysis of the indoor environments, using the lifecyle carbon assessment as a design tool, and the biodiverse landscaping and green roofs being used for learning.

Nightingale Primary School and Nursery won the award for Public Project (Design Stage) at the BREEAM Awards 2018 and was shortlisted for the RIBA London Regional Awards 2020.


Hawkins \ Brown






London Borough of Hackney

Jack Hobhouse Info
The roof spaces include large PV arrays on the residential blocks which feed into the school, play areas for the students, green space for the residential occupants, and rooflights which open to provide cross ventilation to the classrooms.
Jack Hobhouse Info
A variety of outdoor spaces and functions designed in consultation with staff and pupils, from a sport pitch to rooftop vegetable plots, promote an active lifestyle and allow for incorporating activities into lesson plans.
Jack Hobhouse Info
The co-location of Nightingale Primary School and the residential development optimised the performance of the site-wide energy strategy.
Jack Hobhouse Info
Lifecycle analysis was used as a design tool from an early stage to reduce the embodied carbon and maximise sustainable procurement.