• Castlebrae Community Campus

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Castlebrae Community Campus

A replacement for Castlebrae High School in Craigmillar, one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas, is proposed for a prominent site in the Town Centre, forming one of the final pieces of a 20 year long regeneration project to improve housing stock and community facilities in the area.  


City of Edinburgh Council / Hub South East


The proposed building will sit alongside retail units and the East Neighbourhood Centre (comprising Council Local Offices and the Craigmillar Library) and will initially provide accommodation for 700 pupils, with an expansion strategy considered in detail from the outset to increase capacity to 1200 pupils should the need arise.  The new building will have a prominent frontage onto Niddrie Mains Road which will foster a sense of pride in the new facilities, something that is lacking in the current building which is tucked away out of sight on the edge of the community.

The new building is intended to be a warm, welcoming home for the close-knit school community, providing bright, comfortable, spacious and inclusive accommodation. Facilities include innovative teaching space in the form of collaborative learning plazas as well as more traditional classrooms, to encourage a range of teaching and learning experiences; modern sports facilities including a Games Hall, Fitness Suite and Dance Studio; and large dining / social space, directly linked to the adjacent Assembly Space at the lower level and forming the heart of the School. A variety of spaces will also be available for community use, and some will form a “shop front” to Niddrie Mains Road and provide the opportunity to showcase pupils work to the wider community.

A high level of industry-leading 3D modelling and environmental analysis will shape the daylighting and environmental strategy for the building, providing a high level of comfort for the buildings users. Working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council’s technical staff will ensure energy use and running costs are considered at the earliest stage possible and will help to inform the design of the fabric of the building as well as the services within. The urban setting of the building, adjacent to a busy main road, provide opportunities for increasing the civic presence of the School itself and allow external space to be maximised with an innovative and varied landscape design, whilst presenting challenges to the design team with regard to providing natural daylighting and ventilation whilst eliminating noise and pollution from nearby traffic.


Project gallery

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The Challenge

Transferring a small, close knit School community from a substandard building into a new, state of the art building, whilst retaining the incredible sense of aspiration, kinship and community amongst staff, pupils and parents.

The Solution

Working closely with the Authority and School community and holding regular thematic workshops, allows the Design Team to become part of that community and to truly understand their needs, aspirations and requirements.  Getting to know the staff, how they operate in their current building and how they intend to encourage learning in the new building has helped to inform the design.

The Outcome

A unique, innovative School design that is tailored to the specific needs of the School following close collaboration and consultation, whilst making a positive contribution to the streetscape and wider community of Craigmillar.