Linkwood Primary School

Linkwood Primary School located in South Elgin, is a new build school on a greenfield site located within a wider masterplan for the expansion of Elgin. Linkwood is a new purpose-built primary school with Early Years Base and dedicated Additional Supports Needs department.




The Moray Council/ hub North Scotland



Centrally located within the new masterplan development, the new school provides a strong civic presence, providing connections from the surrounding residential neighbourhoods to the public realm of the primary artery route of the masterplan, and adjacent sports centre and Linkwood Distillery.

The exterior of the building is considered from its rural setting and the envelope skin reflects this. The point of arrival is marked by a cut back threshold space and feature wall. The window format has a civic scale and quality which in turn informs the three-sided classroom. The cross-section design pulls light and air from above creating the roof elevation.

Our proposed external materials are primarily a sinusoidal profile metal wall cladding with key areas of Siberian larch cladding on a masonry plinth. The metal cladding is ubiquitous in the rural landscape. Careful detailing coupled with generous civic scale openings raise the material to a municipal quality, it brings a contemporary approach to the design and lift the humble materials, whilst acknowledging the strong cultural context. It is anticipated that over time, the timber cladding will begin to silver in appearance, and compliment the metal cladding further. The timber and metal cladding are supported by a robust masonry base course to ground the building. Formerly a green site, the school landscaping now provides accessible connections to nearby public facilities and outdoor spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.

The project design ideas and drivers are intrinsically linked to the arrangement of spaces, building form, building appearance and functionality.

The form of the building and its positioning on the site seeks to minimise energy consumption and waste and mitigate against climate change. The open plan compressed, but efficient, footprint generates a small form factor ratio, which helps contribute to lowering energy demands and minimise complex fabric junctions. The building is orientated on an east-west axis, to maximise natural lighting and solar heating, again reducing energy demands. The building has been designed to bring natural air supply via windows on the long north and south elevations of the classrooms, and remove hot, stale air by stack ventilation methods via natural ventilators in the rooflight upstands above classroom breakout and circulation areas. South facing PV panels are installed on the upper roof of the building to assist with electrical demands, together with sensor artificial lights to reduce consumption when internal spaces are not in use. The on-site SUDS pond has been designed appropriately for flooding events and encourages biodiversity to the site. Pedestrians and cyclists are encouraged to travel to and through the site via a well-connected infrastructure of paths and cycle stands. Generous external landscapes offer a variety of outdoor learning environments for the school and community.​

Project gallery

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The Challenge

The design brief for the project requested a child centric, adaptable, and flexible solution which created spaces which:
• Provide structured and non-structured learning.
• Define uses for spaces but provide flexibility
• Make spaces the size and scale of children
• Overlap activities and spaces.
• Outdoor spaces which are permeable linking the community​

The Solution

A simple and adaptable form was created which allowed a simple structural design. Natural lighting and ventilation levels were maximised, creating a beautifully daylight interior with large glazing allowing views to the landscape. The classroom, break-out and circulation were considered as a ‘component’ pushing potential for adaption within the design.

The Outcome

The form has been designed to be as compact as possible, two teaching wings are organised around a centrally located gathering space and games hall. The wings are open plan and overlook the central spine of multi-functional learning spaces creating a heart for the school in the centre of the plan.

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