Wallyford Learning Campus

A place for the community to meet and learn together, Wallyford Learning Campus is a state-of-the-art community building that is truly inclusive, intergenerational and responds to environmental and educational agendas.

Date

2023

Client

East Lothian Council

Value

£47.2m

Commissioned by East Lothian Council through the Hub South East Scotland, this project comprises the design and construction of a modern education facility which is flexible, sustainable and utilised all year round. The first project in Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP) to reach site, Wallyford Learning Campus provides modern teaching and social spaces for 950 secondary pupils as well as a dedicated science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) centre, 50 pupil severe and complex needs school, hydrotherapy pool and specialist provision community hub for adults with complex needs.

Located at the heart of the St Clements Wells masterplan, Wallyford Learning Campus is focal point within the landscape. The building links visually and physically with its surroundings by framing key views and connecting with green corridors to promote safe and active travel routes. Positioned to the south, key community facilities form strong relationships with the proposed local centre and jmarchitects designed Wallyford Primary School, whilst spaces requiring larger volumes are situated to the north utilising the significant level change across the site to conceal their scale and link with external sports facilities beyond. When considered in the round, the learning campus, primary school, and local centre will combine to deliver integrated services and facilities to support the community through all stages of life – a true intergenerational community campus.

The vision for the entire building and site was to act as a learning space, not just the formal class bases or subject areas. Through integration of modern teaching ‘plazas’ and digital ‘bridges’ offering flexibility and open learning opportunities, the plan ensured that users can see learning happening and provides links to activities that inspire and brings users from varying backgrounds together.

The facility is a warm, welcoming home for the community, providing bright, comfortable, spacious, and inclusive accommodation. Internally open, transparent spaces allow users to interact and learn in a collaborative environment whilst showcasing the variety of learning opportunities available. Enclosed classrooms, reflective of a traditional school environment, combine with learning plazas and informal breakout spaces to provide flexibility and a variety of innovating teaching spaces to enhance the learning experience and adapt to suit curriculum needs as they progress over time. Through careful timetabling and a series of designated lockdown points, the designs flexibility lends itself to sharing facilities with various user groups out with the school day.

Inclusion of biophilic design principles results in environmental conditions which will contribute to the health and wellbeing of users and in turn positively influences attainment levels. Through combining architecture of a mature nature with a new vocational approach to education, Wallyford Learning Campus aims to ease the transition and create stronger pathways for young learners moving from a secondary school environment to the workplace or higher education.

The building’s design has taken a holistic approach to energy efficiency both in terms of building fabric and operational building service systems to achieve carbon reduction targets. Its well-insulated envelope exceeded mandatory requirements at the time of construction and minimises air leakage through good practice to achieve an airtightness of 2.7/h/m2@50Pa. Window formats throughout have been carefully considered to optimise the natural daylight and thus minimising electric lighting requirements, whilst low G-Value glazing has been introduced where required to minimise unwanted solar gains to the occupied spaces. The building strives to create a comfortable environment for its users whilst making use of efficient plant and systems to minimise energy use.

Beyond the façade of the building a ‘Learning Landscape’ anchors the building at its core; a space to bring together community, learning, health, and wellbeing. Carefully considered spaces encourage outdoor education and facilitate learning partnerships which offer local people opportunities to upskill and engage with employment. Through engagement with local groups opportunities for therapeutic support, shared growing and intergenerational learning can foster a sense of community whilst improving biodiversity across the site. By sharing knowledge, supporting local skills, and creating opportunities the campus is supporting local people and promoting climate resilience in the community.

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The Challenge

To design a new community campus with 950 pupil secondary school which integrates with the areas masterplan to form a place for the community to meet and learn together. A state-of-the-art sustainable community building that is truly inclusive, intergenerational and responds to environmental and educational agendas.

The Solution

Working closely with the local authority and key stake holders we developed a design that focused on meeting local needs and creating spaces which encourage outdoor education and facilitate learning partnerships to provide opportunities for local people. Flexibility was encouraged to maximise use.

The Outcome

A true community building that operates to high standards of sustainability, working harder and longer for the community it serves. Combining architecture of a mature nature with a new vocational approach to education, the campus creates stronger pathways for young learners and local people to upskill and engage with employment.

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