Oban High School




ARCHITECTURE: Education Building or Project


Ryder Architecture


Argyll and Bute Council


Oban High School (OHS) is a 1,300 pupil secondary school with community facilities.  The building is at the south east edge of Oban, built adjacent to the former school and nestled within the backdrop of two large rock outcrops, one of which houses the scheduled monument of An Dunan.  

One of the key drivers of the school design approach is the ability to have a series of multifunctional social spaces, removing the need for dedicated assembly and dining spaces which are only used for limited periods of the day.  These spaces are for hosting large events including the national Mod and to reinforce links to the school of dance, rugby and traditional music. 

It is important that the design has a strong connection to the particular place and context it is located.  The historical, vernacular and prehistoric remains around the site provided clues for how the building elements can respond appropriately to the site.  Metal cladding provides relief from the solidity of the solid base element, resulting in the apparent scale of the building being reduced.  The top floor level presents itself as an assembly of different sized volumes that form a series of outdoor spaces that relate to the surrounding landforms, clad in a lighter more opaque panel system.

From the south and west, the building can be read as a three storey structure placed on a landscaped plinth.  Given the positioning of the school building on a site with no traditional street pattern, buildings that grow from their landscape setting and individual agricultural structures set into the Scottish west coast landscape have provided a rich source of design inspiration.

The proposed design provides an exciting and functionally efficient building with internal and external spaces of a high quality. This is a building with an excellent civic presence which the pupils associate with new approaches to learning and which parents, staff and the wider community are proud of.