On 27th March 2017 Gillian Harrison wrote:

RIBA education buildings seminar

I attended an interesting RIBA education buildings seminar last week, focussing on a selection of projects and the specification challenges in creating suitable school environments.

From youngest to oldest… A fascinating setting with listed buildings, formal gardens, topographical challenges, but mainly a beautiful backdrop resulted in a junior school building by DSDHA at Davenies School that feels both intimate and spacious. Of particular note was the selection of materials, with warm exposed timber interiors and natural timber board external cladding of varying coursing showing the versatility of the material.

I visited Regent High School by Walters & Cohen last year as part of Open House and was impressed by the arcade that links a collection of new school buildings with the original Victorian building. This creates a strong focal point, which the team from W&C explained was sorely needed as well as the extent of demolition and new buildings that transformed the school. For such a large school (nine form entry) the design sought to create different ‘home’ areas for pupils in the various houses, arranged around the central courtyard and arcade spaces. I also enjoyed the story of the colour scheme used in the cladding, with colours assigned to musical notes and the façade representing a piece of music (which was apparently a difficult choice for the design team!).

Finally, the Riverside Campus by Michael Laird Architects (with Reich and Hall) demonstrated the successful bridging environment created by further education buildings between schools and the commercial world of work. Benefitting from a fantastic aspect across the river Clyde and central Glasgow, the main atrium is a great space – detailed and realised well. The full size ship’s bridge simulator also looked pretty fun…

(Photo by Dennis Gilbert, scheme by DSDHA)