We recognise the changing needs of the education market and have developed tailored services in response.

The Public Library building is planned as part of the Nabta Town Masterplan in the region of Borg Al Arab, Egypt. Nabta Town, a sustainable mixed-use urban development in the Middle East, is a uniquely smart, urban real estate masterplan that incorporates world-class academic institutions, cultural, leisure and commercial centres, a business park, generous public spaces and holistic housing neighbourhoods.

The brief proposes a multiuser learning facility that caters to the needs of both the public and students from nearby academic facilities. The design emphasises an architectural language that is deeply rooted within its context, which encourages the user to ponder, innovate and explore. It forms a landmark public space that encourages dialogue through culturally stimulating spaces that are reminiscent of Egypt’s vibrant heritage.


Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus is a 20,000sqm development featuring a new, state-of-the-art further education college, as well as a new free school, a special educational needs (SEN) school and a Technology Hub run by Haymarket Publishing. The regeneration of the existing site at Richmond-upon-Thames College will deliver an integrated, innovative education campus that brings together the best of industry with the best of teaching and learning.

The first phase of building will make a strong, contemporary statement befitting its landmark position on an important gateway into London. It will deliver a variety of core curriculum spaces for business, creative and lifestyle disciplines, including e-enabled spaces for business incubation, innovation and collaboration with local businesses.

Our design proposals reflect the College’s vision for a high quality, contemporary and professional college; the central atrium design provides open, flexible and transparent learning environments to promote inclusivity and encourage collaboration and information exchange. The atrium contains a variety of flexible activity spaces that encourage self-directed and group learning styles, which in turn stimulate learner motivation and improve student performance.

The second phase, a ‘hands-on’ STEM centre, will be available to 3,000 full-time students, providing digital technology, science, engineering and construction labs in addition to a dedicated sporting and fitness suite. Phased demolition of the existing college has begun on site to make way for the development. Our ‘decant and phasing’ strategy ensures the College remains open for business with minimal disruption to teachers and students throughout construction.

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The new School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton is part of the University’s multi-million plans to transform the site of a former brewery into a centre of excellence for the built environment.

The School of Architecture and the Built Environment will be a smart specialisation hub in digital and environmental technologies, and will offer a full range of accredited undergraduate, postgraduate, research and professional development courses. It will provide space initially for nearly 800 students and 50 staff, with the number of students projected to rise to more than 1,200.

The ambitious project, designed by Atkins, will provide 8,100 square metres of space to create an atrium, open plan design studios, lab and workshop space, research space, lecture theatres, classrooms, social learning space, student services, catering and café facilities and administrative support.

Working closely with the University and the local planning department, Atkins have created a design that will retain, protect and celebrate the existing buildings, whilst clearly expressing the new, modern interventions. The external spaces of the former brewery will be brought to life, transforming into a vibrant, central shared courtyard space for all of the partner hubs.

Commissioned under the HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) framework, Atkins will provide the University with a multidisciplinary team including architects and civil and structural engineers, with Faithful + Gould providing project management and quantity surveying.

The ‘Springfield Campus’ will transform higher education delivery in the region, responding to employer demand, and providing lifelong learning, research and innovation in one of the Black Country’s key growth sectors.


We are currently working on a portfolio of projects, including a new £22m landmark building to provide specialist facilities for two of the university’s internationally renowned facilities – the Faculty of Media and Communication and the Faculty of Science and Technology. The project, which we won through a design competition, is known as the Poole Gateway Fusion Building and will form a new visual gateway to the University’s Talbot Campus and its parkland setting.

The Gateway Building will house state of the art facilities on a series of tiered floors, including many multimedia areas, each with acoustically and visually sensitive spaces. These facilities include: TV and film studios, audio editing, media production spaces, green screen and motion capture suites, and animation studios.

We are also leading the design of a £40m academic building, which will provide a new home for the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, as well as wider services to support the implementation of the University’s development masterplan. This includes: space planning of existing buildings, landscaping, infrastructure (road and transport interchanges), and facilities management overview.

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Harraby Community Campus is a truly multifunctional building, incorporating: a three form primary school; two early years’ nurseries; a Community Centre; a refurbished arts theatre; a café; and Children’s Centre.

Our challenge has been to bring four distinct groups (Community, School, Nursery and Children’s Centre) together in a new environment, creating a coherent sense of shared community whilst still respecting the individual identity of each group.

In response to this, the campus is imagined as an abstract representation of the surrounding residential district with its undulating suburban roofscape, where the expression of the nursery, school and community elements are articulated as a series of linked, but distinct, pavilions. Proudly, each pavilion is crowned by a translucent lantern – a beacon - that internally helps define spaces for gathering under the light, creating focal points for activity.

End-users and Local Authority are delighted with the outcome of this progressive learning environment with seamless connections from child care through to primary and adult social learning and to the wider community.

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Our design for the University of Edinburgh’s innovation centre and campus hub will create specialist research facilities for use by the University and external organisations, intended to attract and develop bioscience companies at different levels of maturity, including company start-ups and spin off commercial activities.The building also houses teaching laboratories, shared facilities and an exhibition space.

With its western side clad in local stone and a ‘living wall’ and its eastern side appearing to float above ground, the building will become an icon for the University, and act as the gateway to the campus, which is home to The Roslin Institute, a world leading animal sciences research institute.

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Lime Tree brings not only much needed additional school places for Manchester (statistics show over half of primary schools in Manchester are now over capacity), but a new way of teaching and learning that blends indoor and outdoor learning in new and exciting ways. Over half of the curriculum is delivered outdoors.

The buildings, which work with the landscape to create a physical and metaphysical forest, were largely constructed off-site out of modular components, a process that greatly reduced the amount of waste products and the time taken to complete the building.

As a ‘forest school’, Lime Tree aims to develop pupil’s self-esteem, self-confidence and independence skills by nurturing an understanding and respect for nature and the outside world. Atkins designed the building to reflect this ethos, with columns clad in tree bark, green and sky blue cladding inspired by leaves in the sunlight, and classrooms full of natural light connected by ‘forest clearings’.

What makes Lime Tree stand out in comparison with many modular or standardised school solutions is that the project has not been compromised by the construction methodology – it simply helped us realise the vision sooner, cheaper and with considerable panache.

Lime Tree Primary Academy - Diagram, cropped
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Lime tree primary academy


Atkins has been commissioned to provide full design services for this prestigious educational facility located in Dubailand. The development comprises complete educational facilities supplying both IB and NCE curriculum from crèche to Junior college.

Other facilities include indoor and outdoor sport facilities, performing arts centre, student/teacher and visitor’s accommodation, auditorium and client’s headquarters. The Flagship Campus will be located within the prestigious Dubailand development 30km south of Dubai and will be the first of its kind in the Middle East. The campus will offer the wider community the opportunity to use the site's associated amenities including the auditorium and sports facilities.

United Arab Emirates,

Atkins created a new landmark for Northumbria University with this award winning design for a new School of Law, Business and Design.

Located to the east of Newcastle city centre within a contained site, the building plans and layouts were designed to provide clearer access and a wayfinding system.

Integral to the design was the addition of a solar veil created by a stainless steel mesh frame. Its gentle curved shape makes for a confident contribution to the urban fabric of the city, while shading the building from 50% of the sun’s radiation without affecting interior lighting. The unique form also allowed cladding panels and windows to be used on the buildings behind instead of expensive curtain walling.

The buildings include flexible office and teaching spaces, raked and flat floor lecture theatres and hospitality suites. The design school is articulated as a separate structure whilst the law and business schools are combined on the other side of the shared external courtyard or social space which they define.

The design incorporates the use of recycled materials and a host of other sustainable initiatives which have earned it numerous accolades, including: the CIBSE Low Carbon Performance Award for Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year; the RICS Sustainability, Design and Innovation Award; and the overall Building of the Year Award 2008 for Northern Region.

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In order to consolidate dating sixth form facilities spreading across three high schools in the Lowestoft area, Suffolk County Council commissioned a brand new state-of-the-art sixth form college to accommodate 950 pupils.

The resulting four storey building – Lowestoft Sixth Form College – is an example of what can be achieved through intelligent, informed design and collaborative working.

Our design allows the college to meet the evolving needs of teachers and students alike. Fully configurable teaching facilities, learning pods suspended from a central atrium and a network of informal areas offer the flexibility needed in modern education – at Lowestoft Sixth Form College, any space can be a learning space.

The college also sets new standards in sustainability, thanks to a ‘whole building’ design approach which minimises energy usage by taking into account orientation, shape, fabric, external shading and thermal mass.

We also designed a £1.5m sports facility which is used by Lowestoft Sixth Form College and a local football club. The Barnards Centre Point provides modern teaching and changing facilities alongside ‘3G’ all weather pitches and grass pitches.

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Northwood Primary School in Darlington was born out of a vision to create an affordable school which was low carbon; something different and inspiring – a hub for the community, offering extended services and space which would help redefine and regenerate the local area.

The design strategy takes advantage of the building’s context with classrooms oriented to the southern aspect to maximise natural light and ventilation, with garden terraces on the first floor ensuring every classroom has access to outside space.

As well as a timber frame, biomass boiler and balancing pond, the building features a patchwork sedum roof and green wall with living plants and herbs, to help reduce CO2 emissions and rainwater run-off, reducing the risk of flooding whilst providing a natural ecological habitat and learning resource.

Looking to make as little impact on the environment as possible, the design concept evolved to an idea of a building that was part of the landscape itself.

The form of the building reflects this with a curved form that appears as if it has literally grown out of the ground.

Northwood has been recognised by Cabe as an exemplar of community engagement and in 2011 was named Sustainable School of the Year by the British Council for School Environments.

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Springwell Special Education Needs School provides a safe and supportive learning environment for 110 youngsters aged 7-16 with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

We created a very calm and well organised building that has discreet areas dedicated to each Key Stage. Each of these areas has its own ‘Homebase’ containing dining and socialising spaces that are integral to the central strand of nurture and eating in family groups - crucial to personal growth and development.

The design is based on a simple rectangular plan, a combination of four quadrants: three Key stages and one admin area each with their own courtyard garden. The quadrants are formed around a central heart space which unites the school into a communal whole. Thanks to its flexible design, Springwell has been able to create an entirely new curriculum which has been very well received by teachers, parents and students alike.

Environmental sustainability was also paramount through design and construction, with the use of offsite fabrication reducing construction waste by 30% and carbon emissions by 25%.

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The Academy at Shotton Hall in Peterlee celebrates the school’s specialist status in performing arts. The school’s ambition is to use this success to inspire pupils to succeed in all areas of school life; we wanted to capture this enthusiasm and energy through our design.

The new performing arts facilities are placed at the front of the school to create a dramatic first impression, inspiring all who enter the campus. Curved and clad in metallic shingles, the performance hall appears like a floating glittering gem that proudly boasts the school’s specialist performing arts status.

Taking inspiration from the unique geological and topographical features of Peterlee, we layered and staggered the buildings and selected materials in a way that reflects the area’s mining heritage and responds to the staggered layers of geology found on the site. A palette of textured projecting dark brick brands forms a plinth above contrasting white render echoing the strata found in the local chalk cliffs which have exposed black coal seams.

The scheme has been extremely well received by users and the local community, who have embraced its uplifting and inspirational design. A great example of how highly the new building is regarded is its use as the venue for an annual cultural heritage community festival bringing together hundreds of people from across Durham.

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The redevelopment of Selby College has strengthened its position among England’s top-performing colleges.

A combination of outdated single storey school buildings and 40 years of steady growth and expansion had resulted in a site lacking focus and identity, as well as unused spaces around its parameter. Atkins’ design strategy completely transformed the use of these spaces, making the forgotten parts of the site the location for new buildings.

This not only created a ‘heart’ to the campus, but also resolved another great challenge in the brief which was to construct the new campus – including replacement of approximately 65% of the colleges facilities – without disrupting the curriculum.

A focal point of the redevelopment is the three-storey, glass-fronted Jubilee Building which houses modern science labs, contemporary hairdressing and beauty therapy salons, a spa and new sports hall alongside three storey classrooms, office space, a shop, coffee shop and refectory. Contemporary and vibrant, the building’s clean, sharp aesthetic creates an inspirational environment in which to teach and learn.

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The innovative design for Richmond School campus blends the heritage of a previous century with the needs of modern education.

Overall, the development opens up possibilities for the school to deliver a more flexible curriculum, offer more facilities to the wider community, provide high quality working environments for staff and create state of the art learning spaces for pupils.

The Sixth Form Centre – housed in a creatively conserved Grade II listed building - sits independently within the school campus, helping to create a separate identity for the sixth form whilst enhancing Richmond’s specialism in creative arts.

The school’s design and construction also encompasses every element of sustainability, including transport, food miles, healthy lifestyles and energy use.

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Built on a brownfield site, Northumbria Sport Central was used as a pre-Olympic training venue and is also home to the Newcastle Eagles Basketball Team.

The award winning building features:

  • 3,000 seat arena
  • Secondary sports hall,
  • 25m swimming pool
  • 12m high real form climbing wall
  • Indoor running track
  • Three glass backed squash courts
  • 150 station Fitness Suite
  • Fitness suite sports and research laboratories
  • Flexible teaching and learning facilities  

The design of Sport Central’s main arena provides a flexible column free space which can be divided into three separate sports halls. For specialist events and conferences, the space can be converted into a single arena capable of seating up to 3,000 spectators with movable seating allowing a wide range of configurations.

From the very outset of the project, a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating was targeted and achieved, through rainwater recycling, high thermal insulation and energy efficient fittings.

Our design demonstrates how a large volume space can be sensitively handled to create a valuable piece of new townscape.

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Atkins worked with City College Plymouth to consolidate and reinvigorate its estate. 

This two-phased project involved the refurbishment of the college’s construction faculty building and engineering facilities and the recladding of a 1970s tower block.

The refurbishment of the 2,550 m2 construction building saw workshops remodeled and relocated to provide greatly improved practical areas, while the £4.5million refurbishment of the engineering centre provides a state-of-the-art facility which meets the exacting BREEAM environmental standards for sustainable building design.

Atkins improved the visual appearance of City College Plymouth by re-cladding a 1970s eight storey tower block. These works have also improved thermal efficiency, reduced wind noise and future maintenance costs and eliminated previous health and safety risks.

Using BIM, our specialists provided 3D images and walkthroughs which the college used as part of their consultation process with various stakeholders, including students.

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The Incuba is an exciting new learning and business innovation centre in Dunstable, developed by Central Bedfordshire College in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Atkins worked with all stakeholders to design a striking facility that allows for zoned and scalable occupancy catering for the needs of the college and business users.

The building, which is BREEAM ‘Excellent’, provides a combination of classrooms, rental incubator office spaces, flexible meeting/conference rooms, a large double height multifunctional ‘demonstrator’ area, cafe, break out collaboration areas and a range of administration and business/education support spaces.

Our experienced project team also helped the client realise significant cost benefits through the use of repetitive structure and simplified specifications.

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The City Centre Site

Our overarching design driver for the City Site is that it should feel like it is meant to be there. The lower levels of the site are predominantly concerned with finding the building’s place in the local community, while the upper levels are designed to assert the college’s place in the city at large.

The site features a family of individual buildings grouped around a central space.

These ‘clusters’ vary in size and are designed to be flexible so that they can support any of the college’s departments over the course of their life.

The River Side Site

The river frontage is the principal focus of this site. The buildings are designed to fully embrace the riverside context, both in terms of educational necessity, and for the aesthetic and cultural benefits that the proximity to the Clyde brings.

An important function of the proposed redevelopment is to enhance and redefine the presence of the college in its immediate vicinity. The Riverside Site, like its big sister at the City Site, must marry the ambitions of the city centre, the local community and City of Glasgow College.

As the multidisciplinary designers of the proposed campuses we were responsible for the briefing and engagement exercises from the initial appraisal stage through to concept design.

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Petroc is undergoing a ten year programme of improvements which will see approximately 5,000 m² of classrooms and internal space remodelled and re-equipped with new Information Technology (IT) and teaching equipment.

Atkins is the lead consultant for the project, which is being funded by the Government’s Enhanced Renewal Grant, and has, to date, overseen the redevelopment of four buildings.

Our work includes a radical transformation of the college’s iconic but dilapidated 59 year old C-block, which is visible from Barnstaple town centre. 1,500m2 of internal space was remodelled into state-of-the-art facilities designed to increase utilization and improve the learning environment.

Externally the fabric of this three storey building was rejuvenated with new cladding and replacement windows.

Atkins also oversaw major improvements to college’s central hub area which acts a crossover space and main access point to various buildings. High quality interior design created a visually striking and functionally enhanced area which has been highly acclaimed by staff and students alike.

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Atkins provided complete architectural and engineering design services, as well as cost estimating, civil engineering, and surveying, from programming through construction support, for the Miami Culinary Institute. A model of sustainability and urban stewardship, the eight-story building is designed to achieve LEED certification and incorporates six cooking/teaching labs, a television studio/demonstration lab, and a full-service restaurant on the top floor.

Other spaces include a café, classrooms, and administrative offices. As a modestly scaled yet iconic infill building, this project embodies a new paradigm of urban development and architecture.

At its completion, the MDC was certified as a LEED silver facility by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Atkins provided full architectural services for a new $24 million complex, the first building on the south campus, located adjacent to the Lozano Resaca and linked to the main campus by a pedestrian bridge.

Additionally, Atkins master planned the 26-acre site and designed this facility, which features laboratories and support services for the Schools of Education and Business. The building also includes general classrooms; faculty and administrative offices for both schools, including the dean of education and two department chairs; and technology, general storage, and student study areas. This project, which also included a new central thermal energy chiller plant, was completed using the construction manager at-risk delivery method.


Atkins provided architectural services for an addition and renovation of the existing Swimming and Fitness Center at The University of Texas El Paso. Initial services included preparing and coordinating a comprehensive facility program. Atkins met with various departments, performed a complete building evaluation, and prepared space analyses, space adjacency diagrams, conceptual cost estimates, code analyses, Texas Accessibility Standards evaluation, and room data sheets.

Atkins also provided architectural design services for the facility, which is tucked in between two hills and has no street or entry presence. Through site modification and building placement, the new addition established a street presence and an entry sequence. The entryway maintains the campus’ Bhutanese architectural style while allowing approaching visitors to view the lobby, juice bar, and fitness center activities.

Atkins’ close coordination of construction phasing enabled the existing facility to remain operational during construction.


Atkins provided full architectural services for a new student success center at the Laredo campus of Texas A&M International University. The center houses a variety of critical departments, including admissions, financial aid, registrar, student IDs, the international program, and various administrative and faculty offices.

Other spaces include classrooms and lecture halls; departmental offices for the mentoring and tutoring program, graduate study programs, and special programs; and an academic advising center. A tree-lined corridor, which provides a shaded patio area intended to be a gathering space for students, draws students toward the building.

The design element of water running through the building’s center symbolizes the students’ journey through the education process, and the use of shad-ing and the incorporation of a water feature are especially nice in Laredo’s arid climate. Exterior and interior finishes, such as brick and tile, were selected to complement and enhance existing campus structures. This project was constructed using the construction manager at-risk delivery method.


Dean Trust Ardwick High School is Manchester’s fastest ever built school, opening its door just 12 months after design and construction began.  

Designed by Atkins to provide a high quality, flexible space where young people can develop both in and outside of the classroom, the school’s impressive construction programme was achieved using Select Schools, a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) solution created by Laing O’Rourke, with modular units constructed offsite. 

By using offsite technology construction time was drastically reduced, minimising waste and work within a heavily constrained brownfield site. Construction of the school began in a factory before site clearance and demolition was completed. All this was achieved without compromising the integrity of the teaching and learning environment. 

Fast track construction was crucial for Dean Trust Ardwick as the 1,200 new secondary places it provides will help Manchester City Council meet its task of finding places for an additional 16,000 students over the next few years.

The secondary school is part of the council’s regeneration project in the area and will provide a space where everyone in the community can meet, play and learn, including a new state-of-the-art 3G sports pitch.

Atkins provided architecture, mechanical, electrical, civil and structural engineering, landscape architecture, ecology, environmental impact, fire safety, air quality management, acoustics, and BREEAM assessment for the school.


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Atkins were asked by GLP to redesign the facades for a new technology park in Xi’An and follow it through to ensure a quality built product.  The design focused using the facades to help create a human-scale campus. A simple but warm and human palette of materials were carefully selected which met the clients requirements in terms of elegance and budget.


St Jean’s was the first new school to be built in central Brussels for over 25 years. This flagship school for community education offers both primary and nursery school education.

Receiving critical acclaim from both the Mayor of Brussels and the Minister for Education, this school provides facilities aimed specifically at supporting the local community.

Atkins developed the designs for the school and worked closely with Belgian-based company Burtonboy Architects to develop the detailed design.


Atkins provided a range of services for the campus, focussing on the integration of five office buildings of the Supreme Educational Council Headquarters in Qatar.

The Atkins-designed “Wall of Knowledge” is a double-height internal street linking the five buildings around a central courtyard. Its' gallery allows drop-off access from the landscaped deck whilst the lower-ground level responds to climatic realities by enabling direct pedestrian access from the car park. The buildings and a central fountain rise through openings in the deck that also direct light and air down.