Orchard Brae ASN

Commissioned by Aberdeen City Council through the Hub North Scotland Framework this project comprises the design and construction of a new specialist Centre of Excellence for children and young people aged 3-18 years with additional support needs arising from severe and complex factors. The building provides state of the art education facilities alongside health facilities and ‘wrap-around’ support including facilities for families, partner agencies and support services, including the NHS.




Aberdeen City Council/ Hub North Scotland



jmarchitects, in conjunction with Aberdeen City Council worked intensively with a wide range of specialist teaching staff, external agencies, parents and specialist equipment suppliers to develop a bespoke, detailed project brief, accommodation schedule and design concept which addressed the very specific needs of the pupils and provides staff with the facilities they require in order to provide the level of support and teaching needed.

The design process began with looking from the inside out, with a focus on the quality and arrangement of the internal spaces and the inter-relationship between the spaces.

With a gross internal floor area of 5600 sq.m the footprint of Orchard Brae School is comparable in scale to that of a large high school. Our primary focus therefore throughout the early design stage was also to redress the dichotomy between the scale of the schedule of accommodation and the need to deliver as compact a school as possible within a single storey building.

We have sought to create a building, which despite it scale, feels small and intimate – a school which doesn’t look like a school, a building which doesn’t feel institutional but rather conveys a sense of sanctuary, of comfort and safety.

A building which both internally and on elevation defies its mass presents itself as a cluster of much smaller, more intimate, personal spaces.

The resultant design provides an exciting and functionally efficient building with the highest quality of internal and external spaces. This is a building with a considered and respectful community presence of which the pupils and staff can be proud and a place where they will want to associate with and engage in learning.

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