jmarchitects have had the privilege of working with West Lothian Council on a collection of projects over the past 5 years. West Lothian Council have a strong belief in developing the way that education is delivered and always strive to push the boundaries of architectural design to achieve their educational aspirations for each project.

This has been exemplified through the delivery of Calderwood Primary School and is also evident in the recently completed Winchburgh Schools projects where jmarchitects were involved in the design and delivery of Holy Family Primary School. This project involved West Lothian Council working collectively with jmarchitects and Ryder Architecture to develop and deliver a concept of ‘schools in a park’ to serve the expanding Winchburgh community, consisting of two high schools, a sports hub offering facilities to the community and a primary school. From the outset of each project, West Lothian Council were integral to the initial strategic services which involved development of the educational brief. Regular design visioning workshops allowed the design team to discuss initial ideas, concepts, materiality, obtaining clear direction from the client’s project team. Not only were the workshops informative, allowing key decisions to be made quickly and effectively at an early stage in the design process, they also provided a platform for team building within the group which developed and proved hugely effective as the projects progressed. The workshops involved intensive, early and regular consultations with key stakeholders ranging from facilities management through to building control, ensuring all aspects of the schools design was considered. jmarchitects ensured that the buildings were discussed in a high level of detail and in 3D early in the process to safeguard the designs before they went for costing, resulting in a smooth process to financial close and delivery of the projects on site.

Their desire to continue developing the way that education is delivered through open collaborative learning environments provided jmarchitects with a solid base to build from. We ensured that the design proposals sought to envisage this, providing a series of flexible interchangeable spaces within an overall building plan that provides opportunities for pupils of all ages to interact and learn from each other. As a client, West Lothian Council are enlightened, forward thinking and always looking for their new building designs to evolve and jmarchitects look forward to working with them over the coming years on a number of new projects.

 Photography Credit: David Cadzow

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