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Highland Council unveil Fort William school’s campus

June 28 2017

Highland Council unveil Fort William school’s campus
Highland Council have celebrated delivery of a new school’s campus in Fort William, drawing together pupils of the former Caol and St Columba’s Primaries together on one site.

Caol Joint Campus was budgetet at £14.6m and has been designed by architects Holmes Miller such that both schools share an internal shared street accessible by all pupils and staff.

Violet Smith, Head Teacher St. Columba’s RC Primary School, said: “The new joint campus provides a very bright, vibrant learning environment for pupils and staff. We are extremely happy with the design of the building, as it offers a new, innovative approach to learning and teaching as well as inspiring spaces for social integration.”

A separate community centre on the site houses a library, youth hub and café.
Caol is a small village located just outside Fort William
Caol is a small village located just outside Fort William
Caol is the third new primary school to be built in the town
Caol is the third new primary school to be built in the town

Kier Construction and Holmes Miller collaborated on delivery of the new school
Kier Construction and Holmes Miller collaborated on delivery of the new school


#1 Posted by StyleCouncil on 28 Jun 2017 at 15:48 PM
Jesus wept...what a horrible, joyless box. Who were the architects? Did they win the commission through public tendering...based on a track record of delivering and having expertise is schools??! Perhaps the RIAS need to look at striking off firms that undermine our profession by producing dreadful work like this..the poor children of Caol!
Cool Campus
#2 Posted by Cool Campus on 28 Jun 2017 at 16:52 PM
Looks great to me. A welcome contemporary addition set against a beautiful natural backdrop.

Well done Holmes Miller.
Urban Realm
#3 Posted by Urban Realm on 28 Jun 2017 at 16:53 PM
The Highland Council pics undersold the scheme. I've uploaded professional photography.
Boxy Mcboxface
#4 Posted by Boxy Mcboxface on 29 Jun 2017 at 07:23 AM
#2..... said a representative of Holmes Miller.
Looks like a typically dull, boxy hub project delivered off the commercial practice conveyor belt where architectural solutions are referenced from product websites, Rhienzinc in this case, not context.
Quality architecture shouldn't need the professional should speak for itself. The first shots were more revealing and typical of how the building will be experienced.
The old 'contemporary addition set against a beautiful natural backdrop' cliche needs a scheme with much more finesse and a considered attitude towards materiality to pull it off.
#5 Posted by Charlie_ on 29 Jun 2017 at 09:43 AM
Love the wire fencing. Is it electrified?
The Flâneur
#6 Posted by The Flâneur on 29 Jun 2017 at 09:47 AM
Having stifled a polite yawn I thought I’d let my inner Sibyl Moholy-Nagy loose on this display of ‘could be anywhere’ modernist blandly boring good taste but on reflection decided that the indefatigable John Outram sums up my thoughts so much better in his response to the recent listing of his rather joyful Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station:

"The oldest architecture I ever visited was the painted caves of 20,000-year-old Lascaux," he said. "Decoration is the origin and essence of architecture. It can mediate, in the theatre of a built room or a built city, the epiphany of a meaning.”

"I was told, in 1955, at the beginning of my life as an architect, that my medium was both to be illiterate and devoid of metaphysical capacity," he continued. "My work has been a rebellion.”

"I refused to live in a city designed by proudly sub-literate haptics whose ambition was to reduce it to mere 'plant'. I aimed to invent that 'meaning' and confirm those epiphanic techniques. Thanks for this happy birthday present for my 83rd on Wednesday 21 June.”

More Outram please. It is a school not a processing factory for cookie cutter shaped kids.
#7 Posted by QMD on 29 Jun 2017 at 12:34 PM
I don't mind the exterior given the beautiful natural backdrop, but the interior is just a missed opportunity. It's all about the cold and harsh contemporary look isn't it? Totally sterelised from fun!
Trombe Wall
#8 Posted by Trombe Wall on 29 Jun 2017 at 13:04 PM
Designed in-house by The Highland Council.

Delivered by Holmes Miller.
#9 Posted by modernish on 29 Jun 2017 at 14:11 PM
@#6 - I take your point, but whenever I look at the pumping station on the isle of dogs it makes me quite cross. Just a pure, simple, visceral gives me the boak.
Nairn's Bairn
#10 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 29 Jun 2017 at 20:14 PM
I've seen this in the flesh, on a grey Lochaber day, and have to say it looks great, better than even the new improved photos can convey. Yes it's boxy and yes there are low-maintenance finishes, but the building has real presence, partly due to the sheer scale (not conveyed here) but also because of the rhythm of elements, and the large glazed areas coupled with reflective metal panels result in a light airy feel. It could have looked like this: but thankfully the brickwork was designed out.

And from what I understand the feedback has been completely positive from teachers, pupils and neighbours (due to its location in the middle of housing, there must have been a lot of community engagement). What more could you ask for? Well done The Highland Council and Holmes Miller.
#11 Posted by ugh on 30 Jun 2017 at 11:26 AM
Are you joking? The brick version looks much better. As it is, it's banal, and not even in a good way.
ugh V2
#12 Posted by ugh V2 on 30 Jun 2017 at 13:57 PM
Are you joking? Brick in Caol? Get a grip, no context.
boaby wan
#13 Posted by boaby wan on 30 Jun 2017 at 17:15 PM
smooth white render might be a "low maintenance finish" but it will look terrible in a couple of years

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