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Highland Council approves all-new Alness Academy

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May 3 2018

Highland Council approves all-new Alness Academy
Highland Council has granted planning consent to the creation of a new Alness Academy on the site of the existing school, providing places for up to 600 pupils.

Designed by JM Architects the school will offer a range of facilities including sports, performance and shared learning facilities.

Built on existing playing fields the phased development will see the existing school knocked down upon completion to allow formation of a grass sports pitch and twin 3G pitches.

A roof lit dining and assembly space will sit at the centre of the school, offering direct views out to the playground and access to a first-floor breakout space and administrative offices. Heart of a Z-shaped plan this will connect to a sports hall and teaching facilities at either extremity, with standard classrooms occupying the first floor.

Construction of the new school is expected to get underway in the summer.
A 6-lane swimming pool will be amongst the range of facilities offered
A 6-lane swimming pool will be amongst the range of facilities offered
A spacious dining and assembly space offers unobstructed views out
A spacious dining and assembly space offers unobstructed views out

12 Comments

Pea Soup
#1 Posted by Pea Soup on 3 May 2018 at 14:20 PM
That's a really nice ceiling form in the sketch section. Seems like a well considered proposal.
Chorizo Soup
#2 Posted by Chorizo Soup on 4 May 2018 at 09:21 AM
#1 I agree... so not sure what happened to it in the perspective.
voice of reason
#3 Posted by voice of reason on 4 May 2018 at 11:22 AM
It looks nice on a bit of paper (or a screen), but i can guarantee it will be a nightmare to maintain (smoke detectors at high level - how do you get to them to test without a cherry picker / MEWPs), it implies no services crossing the ceiling to the other side (where the majority of the heat gain is going to be beside the curtain walling), the skylight transoms must be structural as they seem to be holding together a massive free standing low pitch roof structure (get much snow up there?, no downpipes on the sketch cos they would ruin the lines - blame the contractor for them after) and the h&s implications of access on that roof are the stuff of nightmares.
Nice sketch tho, I like the wee folk
aw come on!
#4 Posted by aw come on! on 4 May 2018 at 13:35 PM
#3 If we were to continue your commentary on the sketch then we would have to start discussing the fact that the window frames have gaps in them and no thickness is shown, the building appears to have no foundations and it looks to be difficult to enter the building due to the 2 large red arrows blocking the way!
I do agree with some of your points regarding that elements will look different from the sketch when fleshed out and detailed but it is a sketch to convey an idea. Downpipes can be hidden behind cladding, in the render the roof light does not run the full length of the building as you suggest and you are referring to the high ceilings as if it is the first building seen with ceiling over 2.4m.
I think you are being a bit unfair, however I do agree that the wee folk are nice!
voice of reason
#5 Posted by voice of reason on 4 May 2018 at 13:51 PM
#4 If only I had placed a bet on getting a defensive response... Dont get me wrong, I like a good sketch, I like grand conceptual visions and I like large open volumes but I just like them to be considered as without this a sketch runs the risk of clients saying "Thats not what you told me I would get". And they will be right.
You make a good point about hiding downpipes etc - is the budget there for that? Who knows. The render shows a roof light of at least 11m wide with no intermediate supports - is the budget there for that? Who knows. The ceiling looks about 8m high so i hope the floor is specced to take MEWPs - is the budget there for that? Who knows. The last I was aware Highland Council were not strapped with cash, lets hope they have found some down the back of the sofa in order to realise the vision of the sketch and not be left disappointed with the end result.
Chorizo Soup
#6 Posted by Chorizo Soup on 4 May 2018 at 16:00 PM
#3 & #5 I do not think your voice is very reasonable at all. We all know that many many different drawings of a project are made in order to describe and build something. If a QS is costing off a little sketch that has been drawn to describe light and inside/outside relationships, then you need to fire that QS.
I suggest you are getting lost in pedantry here.
The client would be correct in their complaint if they did not get their nice light from above and views through/ beyond, which it seems that drawing is very much all about (the importance of which is well signified by the gigantic red arrow). We need to not let the pedants turn the world into an off-the-shelf dull landscape of mere compliance. No culture thrives on that attitude. By that same token, the roof is nowhere near floating enough.
UR, do you need to start uploading excel documents so that people can know if the floor is suspended or if there is adequate provision of sockets?
William Foy
#7 Posted by William Foy on 6 May 2018 at 05:29 AM
Calm down chorizo soup before you go sacking the QS unfairly have a word with your architect remember he works for the qs and the criticisms of the sketch are valid
voice of reason
#8 Posted by voice of reason on 7 May 2018 at 09:53 AM
#6 I like my voice, I think it sounds rich and sonorous. I think it is my criticism of the sketch that you find unreasonable, which I find unreasonable (I am also criticising the renders as they also take no account of the boring everyday practicalities of structure and services (i.e. the stuff beyond the concept that makes a building work), maybe they were influenced by the sketch). I am amused by the argument that criticism is pedantry - moving on through the design if a tender stage drawing is missing information is pointing that out pedantry or the fault of the QS? If a construction stage drawing is missing information is pointing that out pedantry or the fault of the Contractor? Does architects PII have a "dont be pedantic" clause or a "someone else should have thought of that" clause?
Tell you what, lets see what it looks like when it is built - 20p on that skylight being changed to 5 velux's and a HUUUGE vent dropping the ceiling on the side of space with the curtain walling so it misses the structure. Just like the sketch does.
Chorizo Soup
#9 Posted by Chorizo Soup on 8 May 2018 at 09:39 AM
I think my point has been missed here. Different drawings exist for different purposes and that sketch isnt in the business of describing what you claim it to be missing. Im also not denigrating the QS at all. Im pretty certain most QSs would, unlike you suggest, look at the full range of information and not base all their information on a piddly little sketch. It also isnt a construction stage drawing, so im not sure what you mean. Production Information drawings are (unlike the sketch) drawn on the basis of completeness of information, rigour, and actually a fair bit of inherent pedantry. I think your mode of critique is in fact well served to discuss a construction drawing, but not that sketch. Modes of criticism are varied and much like all tools, depend on the task at hand. You wouldnt eat your soup with a fork now.
As it happens, I think you are probably right on that bet. In this case ill keep my 20p for next time.
voice of reason
#10 Posted by voice of reason on 8 May 2018 at 12:11 PM
Fair points well made, but lets not miss the main issue here - the wee upside down U people are very nice.
Throw the soup out
#11 Posted by Throw the soup out on 8 May 2018 at 14:13 PM
What have our poor children done to deserve such unchallenging, uninspired and uninteresting spaces in which to learn?
This scheme is woefully under-ambitious. A section with an angled ceiling; mish-mash timber finishes (...so early 2000s) and a central space lacking any consideration or fun. BORING.
Chorizo Soup
#12 Posted by Chorizo Soup on 8 May 2018 at 15:07 PM
Its rickets I think. A result of vitamin D deficiency, hence drawing the big rooflight. It all makes sense now...

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