Lochside Academy

The new Lochside Academy is located on the southern edge of Aberdeen, at the heart of a large regeneration masterplan. The new 14,450m2 campus replaced the existing Torry and Kincorth Academies and provides facilities for 1350 pupils as well as for the expanding communities of Cove and Charleston.




Aberdeen City Council / Hub North Scotland



Although originally located in close proximity to each other the existing Torry and Kincorth Academies were diametrically different, in terms of specialisms, aspirations, and pupil cohort – so much so that the site chosen for the new campus was selected specifically because of its geographic neutrality with respect to the existing school locations.

Such differences necessitated sensitive, in-depth and extensive pupil, staff and community engagement (both separately and jointly) through the briefing process to ensure all views and needs could be considered and balanced in the completed building. As part of the design process, consideration was given to how the campus could and would be linked to and integrate fully with other community facilities in the wider masterplan to ensure the building operated as a true community campus and fully support the surrounding population growth – delivered through meaningful design collaboration with the wider masterplan designers and developers. The campus for example, can access the adjacent Cove Rangers FC football ground and facilities as an extension of the core sports accommodation.

The building has been designed as a deep plan model with classrooms located along the edge of a three-storey main block in order to benefit from natural light and ventilation. These classrooms enclose large volume internal spaces required for such a building, including double height drama studios, dining and social spaces. Atriums punctuate the plan and provide landmark spaces within the building, making navigation easy and flooding the centre of the building with natural light from large rooflights overhead.

Above the large volume spaces, two large open plan teaching decks have been provided for ICT and Graphics classes, which replicate what might be seen in an open plan office environment, reflecting life in the world of work. Indoor sports spaces, including a 25m pool, sports hall and dance studio, are located in a separate but connected building.

The position of the building within the site was carefully considered as a result of poor ground conditions and in particular the large quantities of peat that required to be removed, putting considerable early pressure on the project budget. Through extensive engagement with each of the schools involved, jmarchitects completely re-evaluated the Project Brief and reinterpreted how both core and vocational education could be delivered within a more efficient and more cost-effective envelope. The resultant design solution now offers a wider curriculum of subjects, within the optimum building envelope but with no degradation of design quality or educational / vocational functionality.

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The Challenge

The brief for Lochside Academy required two diametrically different, existing Academies to be brought together in a unified campus that would respond to Aberdeen City Council’s ambitions for its learning estate by providing twenty-first century education and community facilities.

The Solution

As well as a geographically neutral site location, we undertook sensitive and extensive engagement with both existing schools throughout the briefing and design process to ensure all view and need were considered and balanced in the completed building.

The Outcome

A high-tech campus with enhanced learning environments which benefits students and the local community. The heart of the building acts as a social hub for the campus, this is surrounded by education facilities ranging from a rooftop art studio to a vocation teaching space for light industrial training.

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