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Primary Space - Dalry Primary School, North Ayrshire, Scotland


The Dalry Primary School project - “by far the most revolutionary school building to have been constructed in Scotland”* has developed over a period of more than ten years - a long process involving research, consultation, workshops and test interventions in other school projects. Completed in August 2007, this groundbreaking primary school is the result of a collaboration between lead artist Bruce McLean and North Ayrshire Council. 

In a unique approach to school design this project began from a concept of the building itself as a learning tool. The aim was to create a building that teaches and delivers the curriculum by use of its structure - McLean’s notion of “embedded intelligence” - whilst making an amazing place that children really enjoy. The project was supported and steered with great commitment by the Head of Educational Services at North Ayrshire, Jim Leckie, and project managed by Linda Mallett for Independent Public Arts (IPA - now Ginkgo Projects). 

The completed building combines an innovative, collaborative design with integrated, bespoke interventions by the artist, and contains numerous features within its fabric and structure which can be explored and utilised throughout the school curriculum. The children are confident and happy in their school, with teaching and learning constantly changing as they find new ways to use the Dalry environment.

* (Times Educational Supplement Scotland, Dec 2007)