LocationAyrshire House, King Street, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 0EQ, UK
ContractorClark Contracts Ltd
Text description provided by the architects. The outstanding new Primary School promotes a locally distinctive and contemporary design solution which is based upon an understanding of South Ayrshire’s rural character – its landscape, settlements and the way in which they interact. Holmes Miller’s sensitive design approach was to design a bespoke new building which would skilfully reconcile the requirements of a thoroughly modern school, while providing facility for the wider community in an architectural language appropriate to its setting.
The resultant sympathetic built form positively contributes to the extant ‘urban’ grain of the village, establishing a clear civic presence for the school building as a visual focal point for the neighbourhood. The building form represents an interpretation of disaggregated farm-steadings which have been linked and clustered together in a nucleated form that defines and controls movement through and around the new school building. The design utilises steep symmetrically pitched roof shapes together with a simple long narrow plan form, typical of most rural locations, and flat, minimally articulated facades with a greater mass of wall to window to considerately integrate the school into its rural setting and landscape. External finishes of render, timber, stone and slate create a modern contemporary style and provide a robust and low maintenance finish replicating the traditional vernacular style.
Careful nestling of buildings into the existing morphology lowers the scale of the facility to an appropriate height for the rural setting. Internally, open and bright teaching and break out areas benefit from stimulating building volumes with a permeable edge to all spaces ensuring an interactive and inclusive environment.
Designed to sensitively balance security whilst ensuring a welcoming, functional and sophisticated environment, the variety of spatial experiences encourage and stimulate social and educational interaction. Separate access points facilitate the school teaching areas being secured and locked down when the hall is used out of school hours by the community and/or if the community are using the hall during the school day to ensure pupil safety is never compromised. The elegant design of the entrance sequence enables the shared use of the school and community facility with direct and separate access, providing diverse opportunities to the community at large, promoting social inclusion and providing a point of focus for the neighbourhood.