Xtralite Fulfils Circular School Design Brief

University of Cambridge Primary School, Cambridge, UK

Project Background

The project consisted of the construction of a new primary school for the city of Cambridge – one that had direct links with the renowned University. Its unique, circular cutting edge design forms part of a long term visionary project – North West Cambridge Development -  on 150 hectares of land adjacent to the University which will see homes, research facilities and open spaces be created primarily for staff and students at the University.


The school was quite unique in its architectural design with one of its most significant features being the presence of natural light in many aspects of the building. To give this perspective, Willmott Dixon, contractors for the development, installed a range of products from Xtralite equating to over 350 sq metres of glazing in different areas of the school including the hall, dining hall, classrooms and seminar rooms.

The units predominantly commissioned were Xtralite X-Span - a bespoke site assembled glazing system that can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In this case a self supporting, thermally enhanced trapezium wedge shaped roof light system that was pitched at 15° was created to allow for the unusual shape and curves of the building. Other products specified included opening roof lights operated by chain to allow ventilation which were situated throughout selected areas of the building and were easy to operate.

“The whole project demonstrates visionary planning and architectural design by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye, whom I understand liaised with the Faculty of Education and leading educational experts to create a learning environment that will stimulate students and fulfil its aims of being a University Training School,” commented Jim Lowther sales director Xtralite. “We are delighted to have worked with the entire team and embraced the challenges of such a unique design – of which the end result is quite spectacular.”

Customer Comment

Fraser Driver design manager for Willmott Dixon commented:“Xtralite has a formidable reputation in the industry and we wanted the very best products in this building to fulfil the architectural vision and give longevity and durability.

 “The unique, cutting edge design of this circular school meant that we needed complete flexibility from our suppliers to be able to fulfil the architects brief and we are delighted with the service and the quality of the products from the Xtralite team.”

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