Merkinch Primary School and Family Centre, Inverness

Client: The Highland Council

Architect: Norr Architects

Contractor: Robertson Construction Northern

Project Value: £16.7 million

Project Consultant: Nicola Symington

The largest Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) school in Scotland.

RMP worked alongside NORR architects and Robertson Construction Northern to design a large extension to the existing Merkinch Primary School in Inverness, Scotland.

Originally built in 1876, the primary goal was to future-proof the building for generations of students using sustainable methods of construction. The 11,000 square-foot contemporary extension was designed as a state-of-the-art educational facility that paid respect to the original Category B listed Victorian school.

Featuring 14 new classrooms, a new ancillary teaching area, three new nursing rooms and a four-court game hall, the new school is dedicated to creating spaces, places and experiences that benefit the local community.

The design vision was to create the largest school in Scotland to be built using Cross-Laminated Timber, (CLT) which is more sustainable than traditional materials of construction. CLT has many environmental advantages over more traditional construction techniques and has a far lower embodied carbon footprint than steel or concrete.

CLT is naturally a thermally efficient and airtight element, enhancing the thermal performance of the building fabric, in turn reducing the operational costs for the school whilst creating an enhanced learning environment.

CLT brings unique acoustic challenges, particularly with achieving appropriate reverberation times and the control of flanking sound through the exposed timber structure.  RMP worked with the design team and contractor throughout the design and build stages to design and implement appropriate solutions for achieving the requirements of BB93.

This development has been award winning throughout 2021 and 2022, including:

  • Development of the Year (Public Buildings), Scottish Property Awards 2022
  • Innovation in Delivering a Sustainable Learning Space, Learning Places Scotland Awards 2021
  • Innovation in Delivering Value categories, Learning Places Scotland Awards 2021
  • Wood for Good, IAA Presidents Award 2021

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