Harris Academy

The UK’s first Passivhaus secondary school and largest Passivhaus school in the UK, built on the former site of Sutton Hospital.

This project was procured through the Richmond, Merton & Sutton Framework with Architype. We undertook the conceptual design for the entire substructure and superstructure, including reinforced concrete (RC) to first floor level which provides a podium for the Cross-Laminated Timber and glulam structure above. We were then novated to the contractor to progress the RC elements to detailed design and construction, while working to coordinate with the Cross-Laminated Timber subcontractor.

The school is designed to Passivhaus standards, meaning particular attention was given to the interaction between the superstructure and building envelope. We worked closely with Architype to resolve details that minimised thermal bridging and air leakage, delivering a high-performance building which is the first Passivhaus secondary school in the UK. It has become an exemplar project for wider adoption of this approach to design and construction within the Education sector.

We undertook a Flood Risk Assessment and detailed Sustainable Drainage System design to support the planning application for this development. The drainage strategy infiltrates all surface water from the development to the ground using permeable paving, a swale, pond and soakaways. The building is built into the hill and therefore required a large amount of soil to be removed from the site; we conducted a cut and fill exercise and determined 16,227m3 of excavation waste needed to be removed. This work informed the early stage of costing for the project. We also produced the Section 278 drawings to gain agreement from highways for the proposed entrances to the site.

Completed 2019.

Project Information


London Borough of Sutton






Jack Hobhouse


RIBA Award 2022
RIBA London Award 2022
RIBA London Sustainability Award 2022
SPACES Award, Civic Building of the Year 2021
SPACES Award, Sustainability 2021
SECBE Award, Sustainability finalist 2020