North Ayrshire Council in Scotland had a vision to offer an innovative educational facility to support students with Additional Support Needs / Special Educational Needs. The design objective was to replace four existing school buildings with a single modern Campus that would deliver inclusive education opportunities for students from the ages of 2-18 with a range of different educational, ability and mobility needs in an environment that connects the school to the wider community, breaking down barriers to learning and creating successful, confident learners. As an integrated part of the vision, respite and residential buildings were designed to keep families connected within the region.
NORR was engaged to design the new Lockhart Campus. The inspiration for the design was to reflect the austere quality of North Ayrshire’s vernacular architecture, for the formal Administration block at the front of the building, and to create a more organic response for the teaching blocks which follow the tree line contour of the forest area to the rear of the site, which was the historic coastline. The respite and residential buildings take inspiration from the scale of Ayrshire villages and their key design driver was to feel like a residential hamlet, not an institution. The form of the buildings provides a picturesque and visually interesting collection, creating an attractive new presence in the existing townscape.
In approaching the design, a series of visits were undertaken with both educational and health and social care staff to understand their key design drivers for each of the buildings. Planning was critical in managing all logistics of the project from an archeological study of the undeveloped land to car-parking, shared energy/plant areas and operational constraints.
The project was successfully delivered with a truly collaborative client, contractor and design team who had the students’ best interests at heart. The single-story school maximizes the connection between inside and outside and is conducive to the optimum manipulation of scale, particularly with such a range of age and abilities. The use of roof-lights and clerestory glazing ensure that all stimulating educational activities within the new school are flooded with natural light. The respite and residential buildings, The Roslin House and Red House, provide a place to call home and encourage students to reach their full potential and become active members of the community. All three buildings achieved a BREEAM “Very Good” Rating.
- Learning Places Scotland Awards 2023 – Project of the Year – Inclusive Design
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