A former brownfield by a small industrial park just eight miles north of Glasgow has been transformed into an environmentally friendly primary school for hundreds of students. Scotland’s Schools for the Future Program, which aims to replace or refurbish some of the country’s poorest schools, chose London-based architecture firm Walters & Cohen to design Lairdsland Primary School, an innovative new school that’s achieved BREEAM Excellence. The beautiful site-specific school embraces its canal-side location and offers a blueprint for the design of other primary schools in the region.
The two-story Lairdsland Primary School features a contemporary design that’s adaptable to different teaching styles and accommodates up to 320 students aged four to eleven. Located next to the Forth and Clyde Canal, the building is placed parallel to the water, views of which are overlooked through its almost fully glazed double-height facade. A small terrace and landscaped area separates the school from the water. The other sides of the building mostly feature white painted walls and a few sections clad in larch.
The school interior is made bright and lively thanks to access to natural light, flexible furniture, visual connection to the outdoors, and use of vibrant colors. Classrooms do not have doors and are located opposite an open-plan space, with an amphitheater staircase, that runs along a length of the building facing the canal. The transparent and open nature of the spaces allows for different activities and students have the option to work in a variety of spaces, both indoors and outdoors. The primary school achieved a BREEAM rating of Excellent and generates renewable energy with solar rooftop panels and a biomass boiler.
Images by Dennis Gilbert