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George VI Park Primary School

Part 1 Project 2001
Matthew Ball
Timothy Burgess
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
The project for a primary school at George VI Park exists in two distinct stages, the Onslaught, and the Re-solution.

The Onslaught characterises the primary structural intervention at the fracture between Edinburgh’s Newtown proper and the ensuing Canonmils.

In a realm of archaeological disjunction, a void between the tethered fringes of the differing urban conditions, the intervention takes place as a faulting, an archaeological shift that realigns itself to two differing geometries.
Programmatically, this allows a re-viewing of the park – its reappropriation into the frayed threads of the urban fabric as existing; its obtuse interjection into the fragmented crescents of Georgian splendour.

The Re-solution is a revealing of a specific program within the in-situ cast concrete planes of the initial Onslaught, now thought of as a ruin.

Working within this chronology sets up an ethic of detailing whereby lighter layers of construction are applied within the domain of the fixed, frozen concrete. In the procuring of a primary school building, the layering of materials renders beguiling inhabitable spaces that stretch and manipulate the primary structure - masking its concrete; masquerading in veils of raw material.

As such, the layers are ordered as – Priming, Enveloping, Screening, Application. Under these headings, built configurations pasted from the outside in strive to make an effective and marvellous primary school, whilst revealing a truth to the concrete faulting, the ruin, by making the most of what is started with.

Matthew Ball
Timothy Burgess


This project covers the work from two terms taught by different tutors, to different briefs.

The first project was for a primary school set on the northern edge of the New Town in Edinburgh. The student's project had a strong concept with a bridge leading from the high escarpment down to the school. Accommodation was nestled under the slope of the long ramp and then in three fingers separated by playspaces. At the end of the first term the project was far from complete and the drawings were ghostly representations of the form.

The second brief "Architecture and Technology" asks students to take an earlier project and develop the relationship between concept and detailed technical resolution. The student twisted the brief to take advantage of the largely unfinished earlier project and invited tutors and critics to consider the first project as if it was a ruin. Only the concrete ramped form had been "built" and the school was developed to make use of the "existing " structure. The resultant project is exemplary in that the technical detail was thoroughly investigated and the design continued to evolve and reaffirm the initial conceptual moves. The final drawings included a five metre long painting superimposed with 1:10 technical drawings.

2001
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