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Pupils high five latest wave of North Lanarkshire schools construction

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September 6 2012

Pupils high five latest wave of North Lanarkshire schools construction
School pupils in North Lanarkshire have been high fiving the simultaneous opening of five new education campuses across the region, product of a £105m rebuilding programme.

The ‘different class’ of schools have been erected in Airdrie, Coatbridge, Shotts, Wishaw and Chryston to replace a series of dilapidated campuses erected in the sixties which had fallen badly behind the times.

In their place stand five brand new edifices which, it is hoped, will boost attainment in the communities in which they serve.

Drumpark School, designed by CRGP, replaces the former Coatbridge High School whilst retaining the original sandstone building and boasts a glass and steel games hall and dining area formed to enclose a new courtyard.

The £12.5m campus even boasts its own swimming pool.

Archial designed Chryston High meanwhile has been supplanted by a new glass and zinc clad edifice, replete with a landscaped street to denote entrances to the new look complex.

The £22m school incorporates a cultural centre to replace existing facilities in the town and offers a range of facilities including a games hall, recording studio and a kiln room.

A £23.3m redevelopment of Caldervale High is also intended to give pupils a sporting chance with a range of new turf and sports pitches on offer.

A canopy will link the administration wing to the main teaching buildings.

Over in Shotts a £20m redevelopment of Calderhead High, penned by CDA,  has brought brand new games halls complete with electric dividing walls, affording opportunity for the flexible and creative use of space.

Lastly, work to remodel Coltness High, also by CRGP, will deliver £26m worth of facilities, including a full size all-weather sports pitch and seven grass pitches.

All photographs are copyright of North Lanarkshire Council
Calderhead High has been described as a 'fabulous boost to the community of Shotts' by its head teacher
Calderhead High has been described as a 'fabulous boost to the community of Shotts' by its head teacher
Chryston High will be a hub for community life, incorporating a new library
Chryston High will be a hub for community life, incorporating a new library

Coltness incorporates a number of buddy pods for pupils to chat in seclusion
Coltness incorporates a number of buddy pods for pupils to chat in seclusion
pupil representatives of a design enhancement group informed the development of Caldervale
pupil representatives of a design enhancement group informed the development of Caldervale

28 Comments

Neil
#1 Posted by Neil on 6 Sep 2012 at 12:53 PM
How terribly depressing. 5 new schools, 5 opportunites to do something architecturally interesting and special, resulting in 5 edifices. Cheap, Lifeless and Tacky. Hard to remain positive about new architecture in Scotland in these circumstances.
David
#2 Posted by David on 6 Sep 2012 at 15:25 PM
Neil,

I'm guessing you've visited all of these buildings? The reason I ask is that it's obviously impossible to justify your statement based on 1 photograph of each school.
Neil
#3 Posted by Neil on 6 Sep 2012 at 17:09 PM
David,

Sadly it's all too clear. A hotchpotch of lifeless materials, used like wallpaper with a bit of punk colour and zany angles thrown in for effect.
David
#4 Posted by David on 6 Sep 2012 at 17:18 PM
Neil,

I'll take that as a no then. Some reasoned criticism instead of wildfire moaning would go a lot further to providing people with some stimulating discussion about the schemes on here.
John R
#5 Posted by John R on 6 Sep 2012 at 17:19 PM
The black primary looks like its coated in bitumen. Looks very appropriate for a primary school. I Like the contasting yellow script too. Tasteful.
Neil
#6 Posted by Neil on 6 Sep 2012 at 17:27 PM
I think you'll find that contrary to general opinion, not every project posted gets criticised. In my view, the good projects on here get supported, the bad get short shrift, the dull get ignored. There have been stimulating discussions too. I take you have been involved with one of these edifices.
Andrew Lee
#7 Posted by Andrew Lee on 6 Sep 2012 at 23:18 PM
Another 5 amateur photos. Did NLC and the architects actually issue these in a press release? Little wonder people think they look uninspiring - more likely the fault of the photos than the buildings. £105 million of work and apparently £0 spent on communicating the achievement on a national level. Surely the schools should be documented properly so the designs can be appreciated and critiqued...
Trombe Wall
#8 Posted by Trombe Wall on 7 Sep 2012 at 14:08 PM
UR - It would be worthwhile releasing some further images, if available. Or perhaps adding these buildings to your education directory?

I do tend to agree with Neil however, there appears to be a real tackiness portrayed across the current pictures.
urbanrealm
#9 Posted by urbanrealm on 7 Sep 2012 at 14:19 PM
Hi everyone - the photography shown here has all been sourced direct from North Lanarkshire Council, not the architects. The full set is available to view on their Flickr account... http://www.flickr.com/photos/northlanarkshirecouncil

Covering five schools in a single news item means detail is necessarily a bit sparse but we will contact the practices individually to see if the projects can be showcased separately.
Teacher
#10 Posted by Teacher on 8 Sep 2012 at 10:09 AM
Having been around all of these School and as an end user, I can tell you that these are wonderful schools. The Staff and Pupils are delighted with the end result.
David
#11 Posted by David on 10 Sep 2012 at 15:35 PM
Neil,

Sorry to disappoint you but I have not been involved with any of these buildings, simply commenting on your post which seemed a bit harsh (you never did say if you've actually visited any of the buildings). Maybe you were unsuccessful in bidding for them?...;D

ps - I think the comment from Teacher tells a fairly important story, don't you?
Neil
#12 Posted by Neil on 10 Sep 2012 at 17:46 PM
Experience has taught me that I could not get my fees down low enough David. I don't believe #10 is a teacher. Sorry.
Robert
#13 Posted by Robert on 11 Sep 2012 at 10:43 AM
#12 so what your saying is that you have never designed a school because you feel the fee level isn’t worth it ...yes ?
So never designed a school and naturally you feel you know better
What a wonderful position to be in
Rem Koolbag
#14 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 11 Sep 2012 at 11:53 AM
Robert - another way of reading that is to say 'because you feel the level of fee is not enough to adequately service the job while maintaining the practice.'
Neil
#15 Posted by Neil on 11 Sep 2012 at 13:12 PM
I'm afraid it's no great recommendation or feat to cut your fees to the bone and in so doing secure projects. It's a race to the bottom for many in practice. Design quality is a secondary issue but unforgivable with school design.
Rem Koolbag
#16 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 11 Sep 2012 at 15:09 PM
Neil - this is what I was meaning. Apologies if it came across as criticism.

I am a true believer in fee levels that reflect the reality of adequate resources and running costs and reasonable profit etc.

An alien concept in the architectural race to the bottom but there you go.
Neil
#17 Posted by Neil on 12 Sep 2012 at 09:33 AM
My comment was directed more to #13 Rem.
I have no real objection to practices who keep going by cutting everyone else's fee. Just don't try to pass it off as architecture. It is not. As for the comments of the "teacher", if those comments are genuine then I'm not so surprised either, if you have come from a dilapidated campus, anything new feels and looks better. I doubt that these new buildings will last
Egbert
#18 Posted by Egbert on 12 Sep 2012 at 11:01 AM
Leaving the issue of fees aside surely the elephant in the room here is the procurement method NLC chose to adopt for this package. As I understand it the projects were contractor led, with architects as mere consultants - effectively a PFI/PPP type relationship, with all the problems that entails. If there are shortcomings in the final product then it's more an indictment of treating school-building as a commercial product rather than an essential state activity.
Neil
#19 Posted by Neil on 12 Sep 2012 at 11:12 AM
Well don't do it. Don't be used. Refuse to be a bottom feeder. Simples!
Robert
#20 Posted by Robert on 12 Sep 2012 at 11:22 AM
The schools were not procured under any PFI/PPP style contract or effectivly anything similar.

David
#21 Posted by David on 12 Sep 2012 at 11:53 AM
Neil,

It's clearly not 'simples' and never has been. Many jobs have already been lost in this recession so being so blindly idealistic to not work on public sector schools projects would be the nail in the coffin for many architectural practices.
Neil
#22 Posted by Neil on 12 Sep 2012 at 12:08 PM
Set your sights a bit higher then David. Aim to provide a service which is bespoke and worthy of your long training, professionalism and artistry. More than that which could be provided by a technician, or do something else. Open up a shop. It really is that simples
Egbert
#23 Posted by Egbert on 12 Sep 2012 at 12:33 PM
#20 Robert - I'm aware this was not procured under PFI/PPP, more like a Design & Build arrangement as I understand it with the architects employed by the contractor - perhaps you can enlighten us as to the specific contract used. The point I was trying to make was that, similarly to PPP schools, the end product has been driven by the contractor-client's commercial imperatives and the architecture will inevitably reflect this.
David
#24 Posted by David on 12 Sep 2012 at 12:54 PM
I think I'll pass on responding to your last comments Neil.
Neil
#25 Posted by Neil on 12 Sep 2012 at 13:13 PM
#24 I completely understand. You can delude yourself by believing that simply by keeping going, working for less and completing a building under such difficult circumstances is in itself worthy or praise. Not so, sadly.
Robert
#26 Posted by Robert on 13 Sep 2012 at 14:07 PM
So by using that logic

The best option is not do any projects and twiddle your thumbs whilst you wait for a Client to come along and lavish loads of money on an Arts style project “worthy” of your amazing stature.

Still at least in your spare time (of which there will be endless amounts) you can go online and criticise the “Architectural Clod Hoppers”.

You wont even have the worry of having anyone ever being critical of one your projects.
David
#27 Posted by David on 13 Sep 2012 at 14:44 PM
Well said Robert. I couldn't have put it any better my self.
Paddy O'Furniture
#28 Posted by Paddy O'Furniture on 4 Dec 2012 at 17:42 PM
Very easy to criticize when you have no idea of the very tightly controlled procurement mechanism or budget. The real judge has to be the end users - pupils and staff - who are absolutely delighted with the results. Always great to aim for creative and innovative architecture but sadly there's neither the budget , time or flexibility on these projects. Armchair critics are the dog dirt on my shoe.

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