An innovative new primary school has recently opened its doors to local children and is set to pave the way for Scottish primary schools of the future.
In January 2012 Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) issued an invitation to tender for a reference primary school design as part of Scotland's £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme, which aims to rebuild or refurbish some of the country’s poorest schools.
After an intensive period of research, consultation and design, the award-winning Walters & Cohen Architects was chosen for the new Lairdsland Primary School, the first of five new schools to be completed for East Dunbartonshire Council’s Primary School Improvement Programme.
Mindful of Scotland's innovative Curriculum for Excellence, and following close consultation with client groups, the school and local parents, the design has been hailed as one which will change the thinking on how schools are laid out in the future.
Scheduled monument consent was required to build adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal and ensure the historic character of the canalside setting was not affected. The resulting two-storey building creates a strong presence towards the towpath opposite and the adjacent marina, improving the sense of community in this industrial area.
The design is contemporary to suit a range of teaching and learning styles. The acoustic design was carefully considered to ensure that numerous teaching activities could take place in the heart space and the adjacent formal learning areas.
The school has double-height glazed screens that offer views from one side of the school to the other; fun and bright learning spaces; covered outdoor learning areas; and an open plan heart space showcasing an amphitheatre staircase. Furniture was also carefully selected to provide flexible teaching opportunities.
The design achieved a BREEAM rating of Excellent. Renewable energy is provided by a biomass boiler and photovoltaics on the roof.
The local authority has already used the principles of the design in a number of new schools.
Michál Cohen, Director, Walters & Cohen Architects "Lairdsland is our first primary school in Scotland and we are very pleased to have produced a tailor-made response to the special location on the Forth & Clyde Canal, and to the aims of the school, the Council and SFT. The challenge of devising a brief to meet the requirements of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence made this a very interesting and rewarding project."
Grant Robertson, Associate Director at the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) which leads Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, “As the Scotland’s Schools for the Future Programmes ‘Reference Primary School’, Lairdsland Primary School is attracting lots of interest and appears to be revitalising thinking on how future primary schools across Scotland are designed and used.
The innovative design provides all councils with a scalable and tried and tested solution which is allowing local authorities to evolve and fine tune elements of the design principles to respond to the specific requirements of their own design brief.
“This is an excellent example of how clever thinking, coupled with a very effective and efficient design solution is being used to create fantastic, high quality environments for pupils and teachers to learn and teach in.”
Rhondda Geekie, Leader, East Dunbartonshire Council "The design consultations with architects, pupils, staff and parents have translated into a fantastic, modern and inspirational learning environment for the children attending Lairdsland Primary School. Both the indoor and outdoor facilities are truly excellent and the attractive building is a really valuable new presence in the community.”
Notes to editor
Walters & Cohen has an international portfolio of education, commercial, residential and cultural projects. Our completed work includes a rich variety of award-winning buildings in both public and private sectors, with many projects won through national and international design competitions. The practice has completed projects for Kew Gardens, the Bank of England and the Horniman Museum.
The design process from concept to completion is central to the ethos of the practice. Making beautiful buildings that have civic and social purpose encourages a wider conversation about architecture within the office; projects are developed through design review, and proposals strengthened through research. Designs that are intimately connected to context and function develop through rigorous analysis of the site, brief and constructive dialogue with clients and end users.
Walters & Cohen is committed to designing excellence and creating buildings that express a profound sense of place. We nurture long-term relationships with many clients and are serious about the responsible delivery of projects. Social, economic and environmental sustainability are integral to our promotion of a better-built environment.
GROSS INTERNAL FLOOR AREA 2108m2
CLIENT East Dunbartonshire Council, led by development partner Hub West Scotland, delivered by main contractor Morgan Sindall