Alyth Primary School
jmarchitects were commissioned via Hub East Central as lead design consultant for this project and have worked in collaboration with Perth & Kinross Council and the D&B Contractor from the outset.
Perth & Kinross Council/ Hub East Central
Prior to the start of the project, the existing Alyth Primary School was spread across a varied campus of Victorian School Building, various early 20th Century extensions and a 1960’s Junior High School Building, a large part of which had passed its usable life-span.
The project has comprised the design of a decant plan for the school, the demolition of various extensions to the original circa 1850 Victorian School to its original form, refurbishment of the Listed building to provide community facilities and a substantial, new-build extension to accommodate the new Primary School and Nursery. jmarchitects were integral to enabling the decant and phasing plan and for designing the project to allow for these interim stages whilst avoiding comprise in the quality of the final building. Due to the listed status of the existing Victorian School, considerable pre-application consultation process was required with Historic Scotland and the local Planning department. The re-use of an existing building and the accommodation of community uses within the programme posed an interesting challenge for the design. In response, jmarchitects developed the idea of a ‘Vennel’, or a street between buildings, as an organisational idea which would provide an effective circulation link and entry space between the new and old elements of the brief and provide critical separation between the school and the community facilities.
The new building is arranged in a courtyard form, delivering a flexible central space which binds the varying elements of the brief into a controlled space which will be used by the school & nursery for break-out and shared activities. In addition to providing a key learning space, the courtyard form acts as an environmental device which brings natural light and ventilation to the centre of the building. As a passive, sustainable design, the courtyard solution has allowed us to minimise the energy needs of the building.
The design of the learning spaces within the building delivers semi-open classrooms which focus on shared, flexible space. Circulation areas are doubled up as potential teaching and break-out areas; a key example being the Heller-up stair. This provides the main vertical circulation route for the primary school but also offers the potential of the stair seating as a story reading area, a seminar space or packed-lunch area for the children. The provision of adaptable spaces; areas that are not necessarily briefed but evolve from a critical analysis of the brief and opportunities of the building design, is something that we pride ourselves on.
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