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Tarbert’s Sir E Scott School handed over

August 8 2012

Tarbert’s Sir E Scott School handed over
Sgoil an Tairbeirt (Sir E Scott School) on Tarbert, Isle of Harris, has become the last Western Isles school to be handed over following completion of Stornoway’s Nicolson Institute, concluding a £125m modernisation program for the areas schools.

The new secondary has been built on the site of its 1970s predecessor, upgrading the facilities on offer and incorporating a new community library and environmental gardens.

Adjacent nursery and primary schools have also been transferred into the new campus, allowing conversion of the B listed building to form new office accommodation.

The Western Isles Schools Project has seen the delivery of six schools since work commenced in July 2010.

Cllr Angus Campbell, Leader of the Comhairle noted "The all-through campus provides teaching facilities from nursery age children right through to 6th year secondary pupils and coupled with the integration of the Harris Sports Centre, Rally Park football pitch and the community library, the new school provides a comprehensive range of amenities under one roof.”

The design team comprises 3DReid, Goodson, Wallace Whittle and TGP Landscape Architects with FMP acting as main contractor and FES FM Ltd undertaking facilities management.
Sir E Scott was the most challenging school to be delivered in terms of its construction, phasing and disruption management
Sir E Scott was the most challenging school to be delivered in terms of its construction, phasing and disruption management
The school will open next week at the start of the new academic year
The school will open next week at the start of the new academic year


#1 Posted by Neil on 8 Aug 2012 at 13:43 PM
By the way, this is not architecture either. Competent enough by a worthy commercial practice but dull.
#2 Posted by David on 8 Aug 2012 at 15:09 PM
I had hoped this wouldn't be too imposing on it's spectacular context. Sadly I think it is. It looks completely alien to its surroundings, another one out of a standard box that looks the same as so many others, no matter where they are.

What about real contextualism? Are we not able?
Trombe Wall
#3 Posted by Trombe Wall on 8 Aug 2012 at 17:14 PM
Neil, architecture is about place making, get out your Saab and over to the Western Isles to have a look at the site response for yourself.

This is a stunnnig site and it cannot be argued that the scheme has finally rationalised the tight space, creating a sheltered courtyard in the process.

For a so called 'commercial' practice 3DReid have delivered a huge amount of schools across Scotland recently, as well as the newly completed Velodrome and Indoor Sports Arena for Glasgow 2014, or I could use the Farnbourgh Airport Terminal as another example.

I wonder if you are perhaps one of the many tutors holded up in architectural schools, hiding from the realities of architecture as a profession. Let to deliver anything other than the odd house, even then only reaching planning.
#4 Posted by Neil on 8 Aug 2012 at 20:32 PM
Actually, I run a very sucessful London based practice, although I'm a Scot, drive an Aston Martin and am a visting professor at Yale. If you are seriously suggesting that the Velodrome in Glasgow is an example of good architecture then frankly your deluded, in my view. But no harm to you and I wish you well, you are entitled to your opinion.
Art Vandelay
#5 Posted by Art Vandelay on 8 Aug 2012 at 20:32 PM
A bit personal perhaps Trombe. Anyway, the project looks a bit nondescript. Formally it appears to be quite interesting - the courtyard and the football pitch in particular are nice moves - but from the photographs at least, it could be anywhere.

The aesthetics don't seem to relate to anything nearby, and it seems almost like a missed opportunity to create something that both responded to site and the surrounding vernacular, without being a re-hash. Sadly 3DReid seem to have pulled this out the standard Book O'Render...
#6 Posted by BambooBomber on 8 Aug 2012 at 20:59 PM
Trombe Wall.
Your getting very touchy and defensive. This isn't the Nurenburg trials, there is no need for the "it wisnae me" attitude. When a building is placed somewhere, it needs to stand up to critism.

In this case, with the buildings domineering height abutted to the main spinal route between Lewis and Harris it is a bit alien. the oversailing roofs above the entranes also seem a bit odd - but a good intent non the less (perhaps these could have been a bit lower to break down the scale a bit?).

That said, its not as bad as the Nicolson Institute.
#7 Posted by SAndals on 9 Aug 2012 at 07:15 AM
Ha ha ha - I can imaging the crits at Yale...."this isn't architecture! NEXT!"

AM - nice...NISA+SCHV - meh.
#8 Posted by Neil on 9 Aug 2012 at 11:47 AM
Actually no, students at Yale, in fact good students anywhere and good architects can easily distinguish architecture from building, so such a situation rarely arises. I'm sure if you stood back removed the distorting glass and looked at both projects with an objective eye you would be able to make the same distinction yourself. Working within budget and to tight fee and time scales may be commendable, the practice, in this case 3DReid may have worked hard but it does not make the result a work of architecture. In both these schools, context and siting seem to have been ignored, which is unforgivable in the case of Tarbert. The school could be a low risk prison. Frankly to consider the velodrome in Glasgow architecture is also laughable.
total cant
#9 Posted by total cant on 9 Aug 2012 at 11:53 AM
Ah, Trombe Wall. I can't help but admire your stubborn defence of this building. Why should a building relate to it's context? Why should it be beautiful? Why shouldn't the photos be taken at jonty angles? All valid questions.
#10 Posted by Yup on 9 Aug 2012 at 14:37 PM
Neil, i couldn't agree more with you. My first instinct when looking at it was 'open prison' or 'hospital'. It doesn't fit in with its surroundings at all and would perhaps look acceptable in an edge of town office park (which is feint praise if ever i've given it).

Why can't they use more natural materials like wood and stone to clad the building and give it the earthier look that would suit the environment?

I've seen much better examples of this kind of build in Scandinavia.

Trombe Wall
#11 Posted by Trombe Wall on 9 Aug 2012 at 15:13 PM
I do indeed take each of your points while, perhaps on the defensive side I feel that as an islander, and supportive of the project as a whole, they are worthy of defence. I had no say on the architecture here, but having visited both buildings, in my opinion they dramatically improve on the original facilities.
#12 Posted by BambooBomber on 9 Aug 2012 at 16:37 PM
As an islander and a past student of the Nicolson Institute and having visited the Nicolson Institute - I would deem that on my appraisals that qualities in the older facilities are not replicated in the new ones.

Proportion, light and space and crucially identity for departments and rooms fit for purpose. The best rooms in the Nicolson now are the Pentland building which was build a long time ago!
#13 Posted by Momus on 10 Aug 2012 at 01:35 AM

Campus as the first phase steel was being erected. What is there now is 1000% better than what went before. What is important now is the quality of the teaching provision, not 'architecture'. @ neil - you have lost what is most important in the delivery of your service to a client imho
Jimmy Koolhoos
#14 Posted by Jimmy Koolhoos on 10 Aug 2012 at 13:31 PM
I agree, delivery of a high quality service to ones client is utterly essential. Luckily some of us can do this whislt producing high quality, site responsive architecture Mr Momus.

Incidently, what Aston do you have Neil,?
#15 Posted by Neil on 13 Aug 2012 at 16:31 PM
Aston Martin Vantage V8 V400
#16 Posted by Momus on 13 Aug 2012 at 19:51 PM
How very sustainable and eco friendly....especially when driving through London ;)

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