City of London Freemen's School\

A vision to improve quality

City of London Freemen's School had a vision to improve the quality of their listed campus setting, with the addition of a new boarding house and music school.

Following a design competition we were appointed by City of London, to masterplan and design new facilities for the City of London Freemen’s School.

The four phases of work include a new boarding house for 60 pupils, a music school including practice rooms and a recital hall, sports facilities including changing rooms and sports pitches, a new swimming pool, refurbishment of the Grade 2* Listed House, a playground for the junior school and landscaping.

The new pool facilities will provide a competition grade 5 lane, 25m swimming pool with training pool. Future phases will refurbish and remodel the Grade 2* Listed Main House to provide dining and kitchen facilities, new boarding accommodation and teaching spaces.

The new facilities will enable the school to provide high quality teaching facilities, whilst reflecting the sensitive domestic setting in Surrey.

“We are very proud to be associated with Hawkins\Brown on this project and are thrilled with the design and quality of our new facilities.”

Sue Williams, Bursar, City of London Freemen’s School

  • Project Details
  • Sustainability

Project Summary


  • Civic Trust Awards 2016 - Regional - Finalist
  • Education Estates Awards 2015 - Project of the Year: Schools - Winner
  • Education Estates Awards 2015 - Sustainable Achievement - Shortlisted
  • Brick Awards 2015 - Best Public & Education Building - Shortlisted
  • WAN Awards 2015 - Education - Shortlisted
  • RIBA Awards 2015 - South & South East Regional Award - Shortlisted


Sustainability was at the forefront of the design process. During early discussions we reviewed the site masterplan to ensure all developments adhered to a holistic site wide energy plan reflecting the green nature of the campus, sustainable technologies and focus on passive strategies.

The boarding house is designed to maximise natural ventilation and daylight throughout, with all bedrooms given large windows with secure opening windows and deep reveals, to minimise over-heating. Where natural ventilation was not possible due to acoustic performance requirements, a displacement ventilation system cools the recital hall behind bespoke timber linings. Generous rooflights and glazing within the hall allows for the space to be naturally lit during the day ensuring its use as a flexible teaching space for the school.

Spatially the boarding house is designed in clusters and corridors also serve as breakout areas. The cluster layout is mirrored in the sub-metering of the building, which allows each group to compete over the year as to who can save the most energy. This is a strategy put forward by the design team that has been embraced by the school, with the building design and sustainability measures used as an education tool.

Low U-value construction was prioritised as part of the BREEAM and planning strategy to create an efficient fabric, with solar panels provided to sustain the hot-water use for showers and sinks. LED lighting and low-flow sanitary ware is installed to minimise energy consumption.

The site is located on an aquifer which feeds the irrigation system to service the playing fields and grounds before returning to the water table.

A specialist ecology and tree report was commissioned to minimise construction impact on the site, with native planting both retained for re-planting and integrated into the landscape scheme. All timber products were required to be sustainably sourced, with the final cladding design developed to reduce waste on site.

Type in your search and hit enter