Stallan-Brand Architecture + Design Ltd

Broomlands Primary School

Broomlands is a small community nestled in a wooded area to the north side of Kelso, close to the scenic River Tweed. Kelso’s existing, and only, primary school was situated in the heart of this community, on the periphery of an expansive grass plain sheltered by tall trees and residential development. Our design was initially focused on ensuring the students and staff could make full use of the grassed area by situating the new building centrally on the site and providing a quality landscaping proposal.

Beyond this, the design for the school was driven by local influence and a vernacular architecture. Brick is not a traditional material in the Scottish Borders and so instead we opted to use cobalt stone, mined from a local quarry in Blinkbonny to clad the building. Hand placed in gabion baskets, the dark stone walls brings a weight to the building, rooting it in the landscape and referencing the ruinous stone Kelso Abbey. Similarly, the form of the roof was inspired by the traditional pitched roofs that define the character of high streets across the Scottish Borders. As well as creating a distinctive form to the building, the roof also provides sheltered canopies for outdoor learning spaces, onto which, each classroom spills out.

Internally, the classrooms are arranged to break out into a central atrium where collective play and interactive learning is encouraged. At the request of the client, none of the classrooms have doors, so the spaces have been carefully tailored to suit an open learning environment which can accommodate a variety of activities, from quiet reading, to crafts and games. Ensuring that plenty of natural light percolates the central classroom was essential for creating a comfortable atmosphere, with a double height spaces, high ceilings, and views to the outside.