St Ambrose High School, Buchanan High School and Townhead Community Centre

The £44m development comprising of Buchanan High School – formally Drumpark High School – St Ambrose High School and Townhead Community Centre opened in November 2012.




North Lanarkshire Council



The building has been designed to be part of the park and has south facing courtyards relating to both the adjacent landscape and different areas of the building. The design is deliberately low lying, being predominantly two storeys, and the transparency of the principal social spaces allows users to view the park through the building.

A clear and strategic emphasis has been placed on the main entrances – the entrances form prominent features on the front elevation.  Each element of the building has its own identifiable entrance pod: they have been carefully considered in order to provide equal importance, whilst creating a separate visual identity for each part of the building.

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The Challenge

Co-locating two high schools and a community centre in a parkland setting. Buchanan High School is a non-denominational school, it caters for young people with a range of additional support needs. St Ambrose High School was relocated from its existing building to this site bordering Drumpelier Country Park.

The Solution

Key features include a two-storey central hub containing dining and social areas for both schools. This space is transparent to both the north and south, allowing views into, out of, and through the building to the landscape beyond. The space can also be used as a gathering area for entrance into the assembly hall for whole school or after-hours events.

The Outcome

“The new school is absolutely wonderful and has exceeded all our expectations. Our pupils and staff are just amazed at how good it is. I think everyone will really look forward to turning up to school each day.The campus offers a stimulating, creative environment for our pupils, making high quality learning and teaching possible.”

Ellen Douglas, Head Teacher of St Ambrose High School

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