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Sheppard Robson lodges plans for £63m Scottish school campus

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AJ100 practice Sheppard Robson has submitted plans for a £63 million school campus in East Ayrshire, Scotland

The Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus features a secondary school for 1,633 students, a primary school for 517 pupils and a nursery for 240 children, as well as a supported learning centre and facilities for 30 students with special educational requirements.

According to the practice, the 23,000m2 campus on a 19.8 hectare site will create a ’centre for education’ for the towns of Cumnock and Auchinleck.

The plans include four two and three-storey linked ‘structures’, with three school pavilions and a sports centre with a running track. A ‘significant proportion’ of the building’s energy will be generated by onsite renewables, including photovoltaics on the building’s roof and a bio-mass heating system.

Rupert Goddard, partner at Sheppard Robson, said the designs were the result ofextensive consultation’ with all stakeholders, including five head teachers, staff, pupils and the local community.

He added: ’It is this level of understanding that has allowed us to co-locate these schools, sharing resources amongst different age-groups as well as opening-up these facilities to the public, with an emphasis on creating sporting, enterprise and artistic resources for the community.’ 

Work is expected to start on site this summer, with a completion date scheduled for summer 2019 in time for the start of the academic year.

Section through central atrium block

Section through central atrium block

Source: Sheppard Robson

Section through central atrium block

Architects’ view 

The connected elements build upon innovative approaches to learning that the practice has developed over many years, including recent work with the Liverpool City Council. This approach creates an economic and adaptive shell into which different learning and social spaces can be configured. Each of the pavilions feature perimeter classrooms arranged around central atria which form ’learning plazas’. The latter are dynamic gathering spaces that provide an environment for large group activities, social uses and flexible learning.

Externally the design of the building has been carefully considered to provide a development which is sympathetic to the largely residential context. The articulation of each block, through the pitched roof profile, helps to break down the mass of each pavilion further. Different punched window expressions helps to reinforce the individual use of each block, providing a subtle variation across the facades while maximising the use of standardised components. External spaces and surrounding infrastructure have also been carefully considered in terms of the parkland setting and existing landscape features, with accessibility and enhancement of provision being key considerations in terms of the developed scheme.

A significant proportion of the building’s energy is generated by onsite renewables, including photovoltaics positioned on the building’s roof and provision of bio-mass heating system. The positioning of the bio-mass heating system within the site allows the creation of a district heating network, and work is in development with neighbouring leisure facilities to enable connections. A mixed-mode ventilation system allows the building to be naturally ventilated in summer and for the interior spaces to be efficiently heated through mechanical heat recovery in the winter. To complement the active sustainable design features, passive design strategies have also been incorporated, including a high-performance thermal envelope and naturally-lit central atria.

Project data

Location East Ayrshire, Scotland
Type of project Schools (secondary, primary and nursery)
Client: East Ayrshire Council
Architect Sheppard Robson
Landscape Design Rankin Fraser
M&E Engineer W S P Parsons Brinckerhoff
Structural Engineer W S P Parsons Brinckerhoff
Quantity Surveyors Faithful & Gould
Planning Consultant Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
Start on site date Summer 2017
Completion date Summer 2019
Gross internal floor area 23,000m²
Total cost £63 million

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