The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai is on course to be the first near-energy-neutral school in the Middle East thanks to solar panels in the car park and on the roof, and special pillow-shaped pockets in the plastic ceiling, which allow light into the building, but absorb heat.

Each storey expands outwards, creating a shaded area underneath to keep classrooms cool, and living walls and palm trees grow in the central atrium to encourage air circulation.

The building won Energy Project of the Year award at the latest Big Project Middle East Awards for its energy efficient design, and is the first school to be assessed by BREEAM – an international scheme that provides independent certification of sustainability performance.