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The Saunders Centre Science & Technology Building, The Glasgow Academy

The Saunders Centre Science & Technology Building, The Glasgow Academy

Key Facts


The Glasgow Academicals’ War Memorial Trust


25 Colebrooke Street, Glasgow, G12 8HE



Internal Floor Area



July 2015

A big corner moment in the historic tenemental Glasgow’s West End.

Project Info

The requirement to meet current needs and expectations to keep abreast of the most advanced teaching in the sciences has resulted in a significant and substantial new urban block for The Glasgow Academy.

The building includes a new auditorium with 178 capacity and support facilities. Suitable for both lectures and small performances, this space is available for use by the wider community complemented by a generous foyer that wraps around the sculptural elliptical form.

Surmounting this floor of teaching, and lecture spaces and catering for the shared spaces (served by a new HE lab) is a floor each for Physics, Biology and Chemistry. On each upper floor four general teaching labs together with a sixth year lab are arranged along a glazed break out and bay windowed passage overlooking the historic main school.

Heritage & Conservation

Conservation Approach

Particular attention had to be paid to maintaining the special character of the building’s setting within the Glasgow West End Conservation Area and associated protected view to the Category B listed main school building. The architectural form of the Saunders Centre is derived from the rich character of the stepping Glasgow tenement, grand villa architecture of the main school and articulated rooflines of the West End.

Due to this sensitive setting, the delivery of this project required careful negotiation with both the local authority and residents throughout the process. The Academy hosted regular community meetings to engage with, inform and mitigate any concerns surrounding the project. This process strengthened these community relationships and allowed the project to progress smoothly.

Concept Sketch
Concept Sketch
City & Land

The site and function of the building was determined through a detail study and consultation exercise carried out by Page\Park, in collaboration with a Steering Group from the Academy, which was then recorded in a Development Framework document.

Concept Diagram
Concept Diagram
Workplace & Health


The school were committed to creating a building that helped to make the Sciences fun and relevant to the pupils.

The layout of the lab floors described above, facilitates both supervised independent and group working, whilst the location of the Food Technology Lab on ground floor allows pupils to cater for events and functions held in the auditorium and foyer.

Learning circulation spine
Learning circulation spine


Page\Park carried out and documented, structured collaborative consultation workshops with governors, management, teachers and pupils from the Academy, at each stage of the design process as follows;

  • Development Framework identified site and use, which is described within a new masterplan for the School campus.
  • School’s vision, pedagogic system, activities and routines were analysed through these workshops. The school’s aspiration to move towards a more innovative pedagogical approach, independent learning and the requirements of the curriculum for excellence, fed directly into the plan arrangement.
  • Detail classroom layouts designed in collaboration with teachers and management.
  • Selection of furniture and its layout informed through participative workshops with governors, management, teachers and pupils, where they were asked to play with layouts and furniture types before discussing which arrangements and furniture they felt worked best.
Briefing Workshop
Briefing Workshop
Briefing Workshop
Briefing Workshop


The design of the interior of the Saunders Centre is made up of a series of layers by our in-house team.

The base layers are the permanent hard surfaces, fixtures and fittings which consist of a restrained palette of limestone, whitened oak, glass and white walls in response to the polished concrete hues of the exterior.

This language is present throughout the ground floor however an extra layer is then added with particular attention paid to the use of colour on the teaching floors, referencing the Reggio Emilia approach to colour and learning.

The selection of loose furniture and design of bespoke fitted furniture was directly informed by the briefing workshops carried out with the School.

Bespoke graphic working of the glazed partitions, exhibition and wayfinding signage complete the final layer.

Graphics and Wayfinding
Graphics and Wayfinding
Doolan Award Winner 2016
Doolan Award Winner 2016


“Any other school setting out on such a build would be daft to engage any other architect than Page\Park.”

Bill Kerr Buildings Manager

Selected Awards

RIAS Doolan Prize, Best Building in Scotland 2016

RIBA Award 2016

RIAS Award 2016

GIA Award 2016 - Education Category


Project Manager: Gleeds
Structural Engineer: Woolgar Hunter
M&E Engineer: Atelier 10
Fire Engineer: Atelier 10
Cost Consultant: Gleeds
CDM Co-ordinator: Gleeds
Contractor: Dunne Building and Civil Engineering Ltd
Photographer: Andrew Lee
Interior Design: Page\Park Architects