Keppie Design launches Ayrshire College enterprise education initiative
East Ayrshire Council, in partnership with architectural practice Keppie Design and Ayrshire College, has launched the new brief for Interaction, an enterprise education challenge in which eight secondary schools will participate.
As part of their business and enterprise programmes, youngsters in East Ayrshire secondary schools are learning skills and attitudes to help prepare them for the world of work. In order to meet that brief Keppie Design developed the Interaction project, which is now in its second year.
This year the pupils are being challenged to design an inspirational, flexible and open learning space for the new Ayrshire College campus, which is being built on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant at Hill Street, Kilmarnock. Using the construction project as the basis for the brief, the college will act as a client for the students. It is an exercise in understanding and promoting new ideas in learning.
Ryan Sylvester, divisional director and head of the team working on the new college from Keppie Design, said: “The new college building is a fantastic example of an open, interactive and collaborative learning environment. In line with the core philosophy of Interaction, each school is invited to propose a design solution to the set challenge.
“The winning design will form the basis of the solution which the college team will implement, with the winning team remaining part of the process.”
There are a series of spaces in the new building which have been identified as ‘curriculum resource’ areas – split over various levels as part of the atrium. These spaces are critical in providing informal active learning environments which support and enhance the more formal teaching spaces directly adjacent to the atrium.
Ryan added: “In-between space is seen as an integral part of the college’s overall curriculum offer rather than just viewed as transition type areas. As such these spaces need to work hard in providing varied type learning in order to maximise and to reinforce the approach that learning can and should happen anywhere within the building. We are looking for inspirational and vibrant responses but also ideas where it can offer spaces for quieter contemplation.”
Students from the existing Ayrshire College as well as business partners will be working with the schools to help understand the practical considerations of the challenge.
Eileen Mackin, project director for the new Ayrshire College campus and part of the Interaction team, said: “It is great news that we have the opportunity to get the local schools involved in the project; some of the pupils may even become future students at the college so it is exciting for them to contribute to the design. So far there has been a huge enthusiasm from all of the schools taking part and we are really excited about getting started and seeing the responses coming through.”
Councillor Stephanie Primrose, spokesperson for Lifelong Learning from East Ayrshire Council, added: “The Interaction initiative provides a brilliant opportunity for schools to gain hands on experience in being enterprising and allows them to be creative, innovative and cultivate their ideas. It also develops valuable skills such as team work and problem-solving - which are crucial in any career.”
Following the initial responses to the brief and after feedback from the client (Ayrshire College), the teams will be asked to explore the design concepts further and create models of their ideas. After selecting their preferred design, each school will work with mentors and the project team from Ayrshire College (including representatives from Keppie Design, structural engineer Ramboll, contractor McLaughlin & Harvey and interior designer Space Solutions) to finalise their design for an external judging panel. The challenge is expected to conclude by March 2015.