At the centre of the St Clements Wells Masterplan, East Lothian Council’s newest facility aims to be the heart of the village, bringing learners and residents of all ages and abilities together. Wallyford Learning Campus has a number of entrance points addressing key routes within the development, all of which were considered carefully through CGIs during the design process. As the pupils of Rosehill High inhabit their new school today, we would like to share some further comparisons of our visualisations verses the reality of what was developing on site during the final stages of construction. This demonstrates how the design team have worked together to retain our original vision and, in some areas, made small moves to improve the overall aesthetic of the interiors.

The building’s main entrance is orientated to address the spine road of the masterplan where it will welcome both pupils and members of the community into a large atrium filled with natural light and activity. Welcomed by the school reception, this space not only provides access to the new Community Centre and Library but will also act as a vibrant café space for all. An open plan layout was desired to encourage maximum use of the facilities, but a degree of separation is provided using large timber fins to screen sensitive spaces from the busy café. Being timber, the fins are in keeping with the council’s biophilic interior strategy, but also act as orientation device to signal an entrance point for the community facilities which lie beyond. 

As the heart of the campus, the atrium links many of the key facilities on site to create a hive of activity with both physical and visual connections. Beyond the public café is the school dining area and central social space which is overlooked from all sides by a series of learning plazas and tall glazed screens. The physical barrier required either side of the speed gates is softened using palisade grids filled with sporadic cubes of foliage which, when installed, will complete the secure line without hindering visual connections for staff. Completed with a natural palette of materials, hints of foliage and carefully chosen graphics relating to the area’s past, the space portrays the professional environment and biophilic principles desired for the building.

Beyond the timber fins the interior theme carries through into the library which will serve as a learning resource centre for all. Completed with a variety of both fixed workstations and softer study booths, a range of zones are provided offering opportunities for both independent research and group study. Improvements were made through the addition of a feature ceiling with integrated strip lighting to emphasise the linear geometry of the space.

Although a more dramatic space, the North entrance and home to the sports reception is completed with the same palette which flows seamlessly down from the central atrium. With the largest number of shared facilities within the building, the sports village will be at the heart of the community and as such has been finished to reflect the former heart of the Wallyford community, the coal mines. Spotlights buried within a black ceiling compliment the timber lined balustrades which provide acoustic absorption to the triple height space.

For more information on this project: https://jmarchitects.net/wallyford-learning-campus/

Credit: Adelle Jess, jmarchitects Edinburgh

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