Craighall and Blindwells Primary Schools

Delivered as a mini-programme approach sharing identical designs, detailing and materials, these two sustainable and contemporary primary schools, both with early years facilities, will support the emerging and growing communities of Craighall and Blindwells.




East Lothian Council



This project comprises the design and construction of two identical, new-build primary schools for East Lothian Council. jmarchitects worked closely with East Lothian Council’s in-house project team to develop the school design which follows national best practice in energy efficiency. Both projects are to be constructed as part of two new-build, residential masterplan developments which are now well underway. The designs respond to and reflect the masterplans’ wider aspirations including site strategies which encourage greener travel routes for pupils and the new buildings are intended to act as focal points for their respective new communities.
The role of any newly established school is partly to encourage and promote a much closer relationship between the community of teachers and leaners and the local community of parents, carers, and community groups. This is even more pertinent at Craighall and Blindwells, where we have recognised the significant role that the new school buildings will play at the centre of two newly emerging communities.

Due to the extent of the masterplan development plans, both schools have been designed to be easily extendible to allow construction in two phases. Phase 1 (currently under construction) will provide learning and teaching accommodation for 420 primary school pupils plus early learning accommodation for 100 pre-school pupils and Phase 2 will add a third stream to both primary schools as the surrounding residential development expands.

The designs have been developed to deliver simple, compact, and highly efficient building forms comprising a central dining space and double gym hall enclosed by a two storey wrap of learning, teaching, and support accommodation. Externally each school has two grass pitches and a sprint track as well as ample covered bike storage to encourage pupils to cycle to school. There is a dedicated community access point for out of hours use and a robust internal access strategy to support this.

The masonry façades and the sawtooth roof forms of the buildings both link to the industrial heritage of the areas of Blindwells and Craighall. We have treated the roof as a fifth elevation (particularly on Craighall, given the elevated view of the site from the neighbouring A1 road) and the outline of each ‘tooth’ represents a classroom on the first floor with a dynamic ceiling form internally which creates an innovative learning environment whilst also allowing northern natural light to be captured within the classrooms.


Internal images credit: Space Zero


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