Sitooterie: noun (Scottish origin): A structure to sit out in – a quiet haven for contemplation.
CiAO was appointed to interpret, design and realise the proposal for quiet space in which to shelter at playtime and make strong connections with the landscape. The site is at the edge of the school playground bounded by a high masonry wall and field to the west and dwarfed by the main school building to the east. The existing form of the WC block is reminiscent of a typical Fife ‘smoke’ house. We worked with this form to enhance it’s inherent qualities and adapt elements to suit the new function.
The possibility of connecting to a world beyond the enclosing domain of school walls is expressed in the orientation of the space. It is a subtle message aimed to promote environmental awareness and positive memories at an impressionable stage in a child’s life. To meet these criteria a simple periscope was designed to sit within a louvered ‘top hat’ clerestorey that previously ventilated the toilet block. Overhead, a sheet of mirrored acrylic runs the length of the building, angled at 45 degrees to face tree lined fields and the Ochil hills beyond- thus making the outside world omnipresent within the room.
Bespoke table-benches in oiled beech block are robustly designed for children to place within the room, emphasising a contemplative, monastic feel of the space. It is an exemplar of close collaboration between the design team, school, local authority and government.
The overall project was largely funded with a £30,000 one-off Education Grant from the Scottish Executive, for projects that will have a positive effect on discipline in schools.