Text description provided by the architects. Holmes Miller was appointed by South Ayrshire Council to design the redevelopment and extension of the existing Heathfield Primary School in November 2009 following a shortlisted ITT process focused on design approach.
Our philosophy sought to respect the scale and line of the original Victorian school frontage whilst removing the clutter to the rear allowing the extension to interlock with the existing building with a new dining hall and external courtyard at the heart of a new compact rectilinear building plan.
A modern and contemporary architectural appearance has been proposed for the new Heathfield Primary School extension formed around an approach of simplicity in form and materials to deliver clean, crisp, elegant lines which ensures a modern and contemporary architectural appearance, contrasting and complimenting the original Victorian school.
A new arrival sequence has been established for the school with a pedestrian landscaped route giving access to the playground areas and arriving to a new feature entrance concourse. The design aspires to provide a building with a positive civic presence which is welcoming and secure.
The proposal sought to establish a relationship with the original school building and the resulting palette of materials and volumes reflects this aspiration with the proposal being configured as a simple brick element abutting the existing building form.
When choosing appropriate materials for the new building we were mindful of the material palette used on the existing school building: red brick volume with light colour stone string courses, dressings to windows, and stone clad projecting bays. Keeping to a small palette of materials, while selecting their location of use carefully, is key to the success of the design. In order to position itself harmoniously with the existing school and surrounding area, the most predominant material is red brick, selected to a tone to match the existing school elevation. The main entrance and the pupil entrances are highlighted with the use of white precast concrete, such as the feature stone dressing on the original facade.
The brick facades deliver the architectural concept as the solidity of the games hall elevations contrast with the organised rhythm of deeply recessed windows to the upper level classroom and multi-purpose area. The clipped roof lines and deep brick soffits maintain the simplicity of the building form, whilst subtle half brick header courses carry the existing school building horizontal lines through the new development. The main entrance is signalised by a large oversailing brick corner feature, with perforated brick effect to one elevation and a large brick opening to the other to emphasise the main entrance spatial experience through framed views and use of light / shadow.
Our proposal is based around the creation of a new heart within the centre of a reconfigured Heathfield Primary School. Project highlights include:
• New double gym hall with state of the art stage that doubles as a Drama Studio, beautifully finished internally with timber sprung floor and lacquered birch plywood wall linings.
• New Dining Room with glulam timber structure that extends through a large glazed screen with sliding panels to an outdoor multi-purpose space. New dining room is at the heart of the school with perimeter overlooking walkways, picture windows and cantilevered projecting music and tutorial rooms.
• Open plan flexible learning resource area integrating library and IT facilities with bespoke furniture and feature lighting complimenting the interior design making it a firm favourite with all the pupils.
• New staff accommodation sculpted out of the existing school gym hall with feature mezzanine staff development area built over a core of new toilets, IT area, lockers and tea point with relaxed informal seating area in the large double height volume.
• Rationalisation and upgrades to the fabric and finishes within the existing school. All classroom doors and circulation area have been replaced and upgraded in matching bold colours to ensure a modern harmonious transition between the new build elements and the existing areas.
The new school has received excellent feedback emphasised by the following quotes:
“The attractive learning suite upstairs is a great place for quiet read¬ing or computer research and the new dining hall surpasses our expec¬tations through the innovation and design creativity of the architects”.
Carol Shearing - Head Teacher
“An innovative and inspiring build which compliments the more tradi¬tional area of the school. Will benefit all pupils in so many ways. A major impact on the whole community.”
Gaenor Hardy – Parent
“Very spacious, modern, fancy, bright, colourful, huge, breathtaking…”
Beth Gordon – P6 Pupil
As a testament to the success of the project and the established working relationships with the client we have recently been commissioned by South Ayrshire Council to design and deliver their new replacement Kirkmichael Primary School.