Text description provided by the architects. 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.