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Primary school, Granton

Part 1 Project 2005
Thomas Bryans
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
Situated at a pivotal location within the development of a new community, the proposed Granton primary school takes the concept of a reversed panoptican as its generative diagram. Radial wings surrounding and overlooking the tiered central space. By inverting the idea of the centre as a point of outwards control, it instead becomes one of inward focus and the heart of the school: a playground, classroom, dining room, and theatre. The individual wings, hierarchically arranged by the contours of the site, contain the different departments of the school, thus separating out the autonomous from the shared. In doing so, the proposal also makes it possible to open up these facilities to other users, and the school becomes a core for the new community.
Thomas Bryans

The brief for the project invited the students to consider whether the concept of typology is useful in the design of a primary school. Group research included recent CABE, Scottish Executive and Lighthouse publications. The Education department were involved and were influential in suggesting a real site for a new primary school within the expanding “waterfront” area in Edinburgh.

The site is a curious mixture of contradictions. Close by is a listed seventeenth century house, an 18m high gasholder, also listed, and a new commercial building. As yet there are no people, but they are planned to arrive over the next 3-10 years.

Thomas’ project successfully addressed the non-place of the present site by making spaces around irregular wings. The accommodation pivots around the central multifunctional space. The building uses the falling contours to resolve the subtle levels changes and create an interior hierarchy.

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