Planning granted for Westbrook Primary School in Hounslow – innovative ventilation system tackles effects of flight path noise

Pollard Thomas Edwards architects (PTEa) has received planning for a new school development for Westbrook Primary School in the London Borough of Hounslow.

The school, which lies under the Heathrow flight path, presents a particular challenge in its need both to provide substantial acoustic protection and achieve ambitious sustainability targets, which rule out many traditional acoustic solutions such as mechanical cooling. The design team, led by PTEa, has developed a unique solution which involves the installation of an earth tube system which draws fresh air remotely from the building, making it unnecessary to open windows for ventilation.

Westbrook Primary School is one of a number of school designs in Hounslow developing noise mitigation strategies to help the council tackle the significant aircraft noise which can impair educational development, particularly reading skills, in children of primary school age.

The new development will allow the school to increase its accommodation from two- to three-form entry in a phased construction programme during which the school will remain fully operational in their existing building.

The new school building is positioned on the northern side of the site looking out across neighbouring community allotments to the North and over the extensive outdoor play area positioned to the south of the site. A landscaped area with existing trees will border the west-side of the site, providing a green barrier between school buildings and the road.

The design of the school has prioritised wider community use both out of, and during, school hours, using carefully controlled access. All three halls are located close to the main public entrance, and can all be isolated from the main teaching areas. Classrooms are arranged in double year group clusters of six. Each cluster is then grouped around an additional shared and highly flexible teaching space.

The project has been awarded £100,000 from the Government’s Climate Change Technology Strategy Board to carry out research, develop strategy and implement proposals to future-proof the school against predicted changes to climate over a period of 100 years.

  • Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards architects
  • Client: London Borough of Hounslow
  • Planning Granted: May 2013
  • Start on Site: July 2013
  • Completion: 2014
  • Value: £8.9million