Open Academy

Commendation for

Sustainability - 2011

Client Name

Norfolk County Council

Images: © Sheppard Robson


The Open Academy in Norwich is a £20m new school building. The building has three storeys and houses classrooms, a theatre and a sports hall. The total floor area is over 9,500m², at the centre of which is a glulam tied arch roof that forms an atrium.

What is special about the Open Academy is that the entire superstructure of this sizeable development is constructed out of cross-laminated timber panels. The finished development represents the UK’s largest solid timber panel building. It uses over 3,500m³ of timber and can be argued to have a negative embodied carbon footprint.

Judge's comment:

"Sustainable design needs to be brought into the mainstream by model projects that demonstrate repeatable green innovation, as well as satisfying the architectural vision and the client’s budget. The Open Academy certainly does this by delivering a stunning building that expertly showcases timber modular construction. Praise is also due to the client for driving the sustainability agenda."

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