Garnock Campus

A new-build primary and secondary school with community facilities including a 25m six lane pool to replace the existing Garnock Academy, Glengarnock Primary School and Kilbirnie Pool.





North Ayrshire Council / Hub South West Scotland



The new Garnock Campus, designed by jmarchitects and delivered by Kier Construction for Hub South West and North Ayrshire Council, provides a community building with a school at its heart, replacing the existing Garnock Academy and Glengarnock Primary School, and provides a new environment for learning for 1200 secondary school pupils, 260 primary school pupils, a 45 pupil nursery, as well as community facilities including a fitness suite, 25m pool and training pool, and replaces the existing Garnock Academy, Glengarnock Primary School and Kilbirnie Community Pool. 

A key concept and requirement of the brief is for ‘a community building with a school at its heart’ in which it is possible to ‘see learning happening’ throughout the building. Active functions of the building such as Dining, Community Café, Auditorium, Library, Pool and Project Spaces are clustered at the heart of the building creating a dynamic core of activity. Off this space are classroom spaces of the school such as Art, Drama, Music, PE and English, allowing for views into these spaces through glazed screens and creating a backdrop to the ‘heart of the school’ and stimulating a creative and studious atmosphere. This is manifested as an ‘internal landscape’ with terraces of activity projecting into the central space and creating opportunities for flexible learning throughout the building, whilst maximising views out to the beautiful Ayrshire countryside.

The new building, rated BREEAM Very Good, is located centrally within the surrounding catchment area of Beith, Kilbirnie, Dalry, and the surrounding towns and villages, and easily arrived at via public transport, creating a focal point and acting as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the Garnock Valley.

Externally, through a simple material palette of brick, precast concrete and timber and it’s low-lying massing, the building takes on a clean, robust and linear aesthetic, sympathetically merging with the landscape and its surroundings and maximising natural light, ventilation and views to the landscape

Project gallery

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The Challenge

The project proposed to bring together a primary school, secondary school and community facilities on a green field site. The brief aspired to a building which was both a school and a community hub, in which it was possible to ‘see learning happening’.

The Solution

Three wings are arranged in plan as branching out from a central shared space around which active spaces, such as the swimming pool, auditorium and library, are clustered. A gradation of learning spaces range from open-plan terraces to semi-private booths to traditional classrooms, to encourage new opportunities and modes of learning. Voids within the floor slabs and recesses in the building envelope work in conjunction with open-plan circulation stairs to form a holistic and intuitive wayfinding strategy, whilst allowing natural light to permeate the deep plan of the building and connecting users to the beautiful Ayrshire countryside.

The Outcome

Garnock Community Campus envisions a new building typology – ‘a community building with a school at its heart’ which is accessible to all, allowing for operation beyond traditional school times creating a dynamic core of activity. It respects its rural setting whilst acting as a catalyst to regenerate the Garnock Valley.

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