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Lerwick takes ownership of UK’s most northerly high school

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February 13 2018

Lerwick takes ownership of UK’s most northerly high school
Ryder Architecture have handed over Lerwick’s Anderson High School enabling 1,180 students and staff to obtain their first taste of the UK’s most northerly high school.

Situated on the outskirts of Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands, the secondary and halls of residence takes the form of two wings of accommodation enclosing a central atrium and support spine wrapped by teaching spaces.

Remoteness and difficulty of travel necessitated construction of a halls of residence on site within which the majority of pupils will reside during term time. Incorporating ground floor social spaces such as a games space, TV rooms, study spaces and music practice rooms as well as a weekend flat for visiting parents.

Chris Malcolm, architectural director at Ryder commented: “The new Anderson High School and Halls of Residence projects presented us with a significant architectural challenge – how to successfully integrate a four storey exemplar school design into an unspoiled iron age setting.

“By drawing inspiration from the vernacular forms of the Shetland landscape, we hope we have created an architectural response sympathetic to this unique island setting. It has been a real privilege to work on a project of such profound cultural significance to the people of Shetland.”

Delivered by Morrison Construction on behalf of hub North the school follows Ryder’s earlier work at Wick Community Campus and Kirn Primary.
A desire to bring light deep within the plan informed the design
A desire to bring light deep within the plan informed the design
An atrium space doubles as a social hub for the entire school
An atrium space doubles as a social hub for the entire school

Anderson high School was originally founded in 1862
Anderson high School was originally founded in 1862
Classrooms are positioned along the external facade where possible
Classrooms are positioned along the external facade where possible

12 Comments

StyleCouncil
#1 Posted by StyleCouncil on 13 Feb 2018 at 21:04 PM
Man, that is one ugly elevation...
What a waste of RIAS
#2 Posted by What a waste of RIAS on 13 Feb 2018 at 22:55 PM
"Chris Malcolm, architectural director at Ryder commented: “The new Anderson High School and Halls of Residence projects presented us with a significant architectural challenge – how to successfully integrate a four storey exemplar school design into an unspoiled iron age setting.

“By drawing inspiration from the vernacular forms of the Shetland landscape, we hope we have created an architectural response sympathetic to this unique island setting.”

Well, you have completely failed that challenge Ryder. You have taken a single storey pitched roof shed found nearby and extended it vertically in SketchUp before going mental with the Materials tool and pasting timber textures across the facades and rotating + scaling them so as to articulate the building. Jeezo this is bad. The entrance facade looks like the timber has drooped over the base-course of, presumably, cheap fake stone. Someone may have made an mistake with the Material tool there. And to cap it off, someone else has just lifted a badly renovated 60's building grey spandrel panel and glazing wall detail and plonked it smack bang above the main doors.

"A New Chapter" - what would you make of this monstrosity?

Poor, poor Shetlanders; what they have been subjected to? Perhaps Ryder should have taken a wonder down to the harbourside of Lerwick and looked at the interesting variety of crinkly tin buildings there for a start! The Shetland Seafood Centre is a damn sight better than this lump.
MV
#3 Posted by MV on 14 Feb 2018 at 14:09 PM
Agree with 1 & 2. Made me think of a much better news item last year - North Uist by 3DReid: http://www.urbanrealm.com/news/6676/Lessons_begin_at_%C2%A38.8m_North_Uist_Primary_.html
Keep it simple. simple is good.
Crinkly Street
#4 Posted by Crinkly Street on 15 Feb 2018 at 12:08 PM
If you understand the Hub 'superblock' template you will appreciate the effort that the architects have obviously made to allow this school to sit within its context as much as possible for a 4 storey building. It clearly embraces the constraints forced upon it and uses the limited pallet of materials to its advantage. Its not trying to be anything else. #2 obviously does not appreciate this and I'm not sure how 'a new chapter' would have done it differently. Crinkly tin would have been a lazy reference and not great for durability in the harsh Shetland climate but hey, its good to see a new school built on time!
Doc S
#5 Posted by Doc S on 15 Feb 2018 at 12:47 PM
It is basically a massive overscaled block of limited architectural quality - presumably the standard pattern for a high school these days - and comprehensively desecrates its setting, which is the background to Clickimin Broch. What a poor successor to the well loved old AHS. It is no doubt great to get modern accommodation and particularly residential rooms but it does nothing else for Lerwick and should have been so much better. What it also does by taking the school to the other end of town and placing it adjacent to Tesco is take the business from visiting school children out of the high street, making it even more difficult to keep shop units open and adding to the decline of what was once a marvellous town centre. Naturally they don't think about that. SIC should have insisted on getting some local architectural talent involved who understand the issues.
dave the detailer
#6 Posted by dave the detailer on 15 Feb 2018 at 13:47 PM
#4 ' limited pallet..' it looks like they've used pallets.. its rough!
Doc S
#7 Posted by Doc S on 15 Feb 2018 at 14:41 PM
#4 - this is sounding like The Prisoner - can I suggest a stroll using Google Streetview from the old AHS right along the front and you will find exactly how crinkly tin does in the Shetland climate as it is on just about every building up to and including the ferry terminal. I don't see much cedar cladding mind, so we will see how that stands up in due course. Maybe the superblock isn't all that super and maybe the Hub is not the ideal way of doing this. I believe that the DHSS offices which Barratt built in the 1970's was finished on time as well - check that out en route. Anyway, we are to be grateful that it wasn't a complete fiasco.
E=mc2
#8 Posted by E=mc2 on 15 Feb 2018 at 23:10 PM
#4 Not compelled to use the SFT ‘superblock’ reference design. Definitely not appropriate in a more rural context.
sherlock holmes
#9 Posted by sherlock holmes on 16 Feb 2018 at 08:25 AM
#4 welcome to urban realm mr QS.
Mrs QS
#10 Posted by Mrs QS on 16 Feb 2018 at 11:12 AM
It's apparent that everyone contesting to comment #4 must never have worked on a hub job. You must be out of touch either working on skyscrapers for Dubai or garage conversions in Cumbernauld. Hub projects are very testing and AHS has been delivered on time which is testament to anything being procured in Scotland. At the end of the day the contractor is king here and the fact that the building isn't white stucco render is a win for the community. It’s not the bonniest but I’m sure the kids will enjoy their new school and that’s the main thing.
Rem Koolbag
#11 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 16 Feb 2018 at 11:48 AM
#10
Dear me - is this really the benchmark against which we should be judging new buildings?
It was built on time - wow. One of the most basic tick boxes of a project. You might as well point out that is was built with a roof and walls and windows and doors too.
It isn't as pish as it might have been - wow. When the architect can't decide which timber detail to use so uses them all, which window detail to use so uses all of them etc etc it might as well have been white render.
The kids will enjoy their new school - wow. They may very well enjoy their new school, but their frame of reference will be very small at that age. Where are the outdoor play spaces? Where is the human scale to the internal spaces?
Mr Broch'lehurst
#12 Posted by Mr Broch'lehurst on 16 Feb 2018 at 13:40 PM
Wow #10 so if the end user doesnt know any better then we cant say its a success. Surely thats how the success of every project should be gauged...call me old fashioned.

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