Maidenhill Primary School and Nursery
ARCHITECTURE: Education Building or Project
East Renfrewshire Council
This project forms part of the new Maidenhill development at Newton Mearns, southwest of Glasgow. A completely new neighbourhood, comprising more than 800 homes, is being created with the new two stream primary school and early years facility sitting at the heart of the masterplan. The new primary school was constructed alongside the neighbouring houses which presented an opportunity to create not only a new learning centre, but also create a focus for the developing community. The school is organised around a central atrium space which forms the heart of school and contains various types of learning spaces. Children learn through experience, with the environment being their 3rd teacher, consequently our design focuses on providing spaces which encourage their curiosity and create a learning landscape enriched with ‘play’ elements and natural forms. The classrooms are wrapped around the atrium and each classroom has a dedicated adjacent space for flexible learning and group work. The teaching space extends outside the classrooms and is designed to allow free movement between formal and informal teaching in a dynamic learning environment. A dedicated STEM room plays a key role in encouraging children to interact with their environment through STEM related subjects. The building services within the room are exposed to allow the children to understand the operation of key utilities and learn about the energy footprint of the building.
The use of biophylic colours in the interior of the school provide a calming background for learners. The flexible learning zones accommodate a range of spaces from cosy wall pockets and a bird house for peer to peer learning to an internal climbing wall which promotes and encourages activity when moving between floors of the school. The tiered seating placed centrally in the atrium can accommodate multiple class groups oriented towards the drama box and provides a lively focus to the heart of the building. The circular form of the nursery promotes free play, it is filled with natural light and contains a centrally placed treetop snug for quiet time. The open plan play rooms engage directly with the external play area which offers the youngest learners a rich varied external play environment. The external learning environment encourages children to engage with the four essential life elements, earth, air, fire and water, all represented by the variety of plants, surfaces and play equipment available.