Boroughmuir High School

Allan Murray Architects, Edinburgh, 2018

 

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The school sits next to the canal 

Keith Hunter     Download Original

  • The school sits next to the canal    
  • The façade is constructed with an informal but trabeated system of precast glass-reinforced concrete (GRC)-clad columns and beams    
  • The building façades are uniform, with apertures responding appropriately to the adjacent bustle and noise of the four aspects    
  • The external multi-use games area (MUGA) at first-floor level    
  • Circulation space    
  • The central atrium    
  • The green on the windows reflects the school    
  • The wide stairway of the entrance hall    
  • Floorplans    
  • Section AA    
  • Section BB    
  • Detail section    
  • Facade detail section    

A canal-side Edinburgh school.

The site of the new Boroughmuir High School was the home of the Scottish & Newcastle brewery. With the brewery’s closure in 2004, Fountainbridge became the focus of a masterplan by Allan Murray Architects.

Allan Murray Architects has designed the new building entrance with a jiggle off the adjacent street, turning its back on Fountainbridge and instead facing the pleasant canal and its path to the south. Here a unique and calming civic entrance forum is created, where pupils can mingle among the other public canalside activities going on.

The massing of the building is challenged by the incredibly tight site area which the school was allocated. With five storeys of space, the challenge was to shoehorn in all the requisite functions while retaining circulatory elegance and functionality. With this in mind, the realised clarity and airiness of the building is impressive, and the sense of orientation is immediate.

Materially and compositionally, the building façades are uniform, with apertures responding appropriately to the adjacent bustle and noise of the four aspects. The façade is constructed with an informal but trabeated system of precast glass-reinforced concrete (GRC)-clad columns and beams, with infills of glazed curtain walling and zingy green reveals to reflect the confident school livery. The section and storey heights are determined by the need to absorb double-height spaces within a single building volume: a 300-seat assembly hall at basement level; sports hall at ground level; and an external multi-use games area (MUGA) at first-floor level. 

The classroom accommodation, with the exception of the west-facing balcony aperture, is rationally located along the east and west of the volume’s long sides. Strategically, the sciences, with their greater mechanical demand, are located on the top floor, with groupings of subjects working down the building, becoming more public and flexible in use at the lower and more accessible entrance and atrium levels. 

The holistic engineering design of the atrium was developed to achieve the architectural aspiration of an open, light and interconnected space throughout the school. The use of mechanical smoke extract from high level within the central atrium permitted this by providing a smoke-free area above the height of the occupants on the top level, allowing them to exit in the event of a fire. 

Data

  • Begun: Sep 2014
  • Completed: Jan 2018
  • Floor area: 13,536m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £26.3M
  • Address: 11 Viewforth, Edinburgh, EH11 1FL, United Kingdom

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