Dunbar Grammar School

A sensitive remodelling and refurbishment of the existing school building combined with a bold extension, providing additional teaching facilities, a dynamic social space at the heart of the school and excellent external sports facilities. All achieved while enabling the school to remain open and fully functioning throughout the construction works.




East Lothian Council / Innovate East Lothian



The extension and refurbishment of Dunbar Grammar School was required to cater for a projected increase in pupil roll from 850 to 1200 pupils due to proposed housing development in the area. Through initial feasibility work and consultation with school staff it became apparent that there were also historical issues relating to circulation and social space provision that needed to be addressed.

Our design rationalised and re-focused the extent of the proposed works and enabled these issues to be addressed, resulting in a more coherent and user-friendly building. We worked closely with the school, local authority, and contractor to ensure that the design and phasing of the project enabled the school to remain open and fully functioning for the duration of the construction works.

The design solution involved a series of sympathetic interventions throughout the existing building, to improve connectivity and department adjacency, combined with a large extension providing additional teaching spaces wrapped around a dynamic social space that will become a focal point within the extended building. Along with a new external sports pitch, the project has provided the school and local community with a building which has state of the art facilities and spaces which can accommodate a wide variety of uses.

The result is a building which carefully knits existing and new facilities together and meets the needs and aspirations of its users.

Project gallery

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The Challenge

With a projected student roll of 1200 due to proposed housing development in the surrounding area there was a requirement to expand the existing school to accommodate the increase in pupils while also addressing historic issues with circulation and pupil social space.

The Solution

Provide the school with a light and dynamic social space that will become a new ‘hub’ for the school and wrap around this space the additional teaching spaces the school require. Externally provide a synthetic pitch to enhance their sports offering.

The Outcome

The school have gained a multi-purpose space which has become the beating heart of social, assembly and community activities within the building. The project has relieved the pressure on space that the school faced, and the building is enjoyed by both staff and pupils alike.

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