Mellor Primary School

Embedded in its woodland setting on the edge of the Peak District, this extension to Mellor Primary School provides a series of imaginative indoor and outdoor learning spaces that forge new connections to nature.

Constructed using natural and locally-sourced materials, the building takes inspiration from the Forest School ethos at Mellor. The habitat wall is the centrepiece of this idea. Working together with the children, we created imaginative and ecologically diverse cladding compartments to provide homes for birds, bees, bugs and bats.

In collaboration with the team at Mellor Primary School and contractor MPS, we have made a short film about the project. Scroll down to take a look!

Client: Mellor Primary School
Completion: 2015
Cost: £590,000
Location: Stockport

2016 RIBA Award, North West Region
2016 RIBA Award, North West Region, Eleanor Brough, Project Architect of the Year
2016 Structural Timber Awards: Judge’s Choice and Best Education Project
2016 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize (shortlisted)
2016 Wood Awards (highly commended)
2016 Education Business Awards: Best School Building (highly commended)
2016 Education Business Awards: Environmental Practice Awards (highly commended)
2016 Building Magazine Awards: Best Small Project (shortlisted)
2016 RICS Award (shortlisted)
2016 RICS Regional North West Award: Design through Innovation category (shortlisted)
2016 RICS Regional North West Award: Community Benefit category (shortlisted)
Architects’ Journal Stephen Lawrence Prize

Education Design&Build

RIBA Journal

Structural Timber Magazine

Primary School Management



Education Business


The project continues to inspire and evolve to support the School’s ambitious curriculum and Forest School Programme. Many thanks to the staff and children at Mellor Primary School, MPS Construction and filmmaker Will Armson.


The finished building is the result of close collaboration with the school and wider community. Weekend build events saw parents, teachers and our team at SWA pitch in to construct the habitat wall using salvaged materials. We devised a guide with suggested methods of construction to help the eager volunteers.

The uplifting atmosphere brings out the best in the pupils and welcomes in the community that has helped create it. The extension transforms the school into a stimulating environment, which staff, children and the community feel proud of and enjoy spending time in.

“Just to say congratulations all round on such a marvellous new contribution to our grandchildrens’ – and all the childrens’ – time at Mellor Primary. It’s beautiful, inspiring, refreshing, visionary and a lovely space to admire”

Grandparents of pupils Daniel and Toby

The proposals use natural and reclaimed materials with low-embodied energy, whilst benefitting from efficiencies of modern methods of construction.

Pre-fabricated insulated timber wall cassettes span across the repeating glulam frames. These cassettes were manufactured off site, and could be lifted into place to form the roof and walls. Cedar shingles and straw bale insulation dress the timber frame, whilst reclaimed materials such as tyres form stepping stones in the landscape. Locally found timber offcuts, clay tiles and glass bottles infill the compartments of the habitat wall.

Photos by Beccy Lane