In 2012 Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) issued an invitation to tender for a reference primary school design as part of its management of Scotland's Schools for the Future programme. The primary objective was to 'deliver good quality, well designed, sustainable schools at a competitive price'. The idea was not to standardise primary schools, but to provide a set of principles that would be used creatively to respond to site and community context across Scotland.
Walters & Cohen was one of two practices chosen to go forward to the second stage of the process: an intensive period of research, consultation and design for a new Lairdsland Primary School in East Dunbartonshire, to be within SFT's cost and area parameters. Part of our work was to help establish the brief, which we did in close consultation with client groups and with reference to Scotland's innovative Curriculum for Excellence.
As well as producing costed design proposals to RIBA Stage C, the brief also required that our designs be scalable from 200-300 pupils, such that the principles could be adapted in an efficient, cost-effective way, without compromising on quality. Within a ten-week period, we attended numerous workshops, consultations, 'live' school visits to establish precedent, and planning and highways meetings. We met the deadline for our design report with a solution that bettered SFT's cost and area parameters. We were delighted to be chosen as architect for Lairdsland School.