Maidenhill Primary School & Nursery 


Our brief was to design a school that offered the children an exciting and lively place for 21st Century learning and would become a place for emerging community to gather. 

Maidenhill Primary School forms part of the new Maidenhill development in Newton Mearns, a suburb southwest of Glasgow, located within East Renfrewshire.

Maidenhill is a brand new neighbourhood, comprising more than 800 houses and the new BDP designed primary school and early years facility sits at the heart of the masterplan. A ''green spine'' runs through the masterplan, connecting the new dwellings to a landscaped pathway which feeds into the school, physically connecting the school with the surrounding community. 

In response to the need for a new school fit for new ways of learning, our design is organised around a central atrium 'heart' space, which contains a wealth of activity including science, performance, music, technology, library, art, storytelling and play. The design focuses on providing a variety of spaces which encourage curiosity and create a learning landscape enriched with play and natural forms but is flexible enough to cope with change as different education needs emerge. 

The heart space is a deliberately calming internal environment and has been designed to accommodate sensory difference. The colours and materials selected are from a restrained palette which soften the space and provide a comforting background to learning.

The flexible learning areas arranged around the central space provide a diverse range of environments from cosy snugs and a birdhouse hideaway for individual and paired learning, through to larger auditorium group sessions. An internal climbing wall provides scope for activity and has quickly become an integral part of daily learning for children. 

This fantastic development offers the young people of Newton Mearns a rich and exciting environment from which to start their learning journey. 

When the concept for Maidenhill was conceived, the site was a green field with no other context than agricultural land. There were distant views towards the motorway and back to the city. 

As designers, we understood that ultimately the new school would be surrounded by new houses, and any opportunity for immediate view outwards was limited so it was imperative that we created a landscape that allowed the school to create its own rich environment which harnessed the needs of the children and the wider community. During the briefing process, stakeholders were consulted extensively to ensure that the destination of Maidenhill Primary School would provide a safe, secure place which would promote social interaction and provide facilities that would be available to the wider community beyond core school hours. 

The new school is part of a wider Developers masterplan, the only constraint placed upon the design was agreeing the final location of the school site. The material selection and massing of the building were developed through discussion with the Local Authority Planning department. The Planning process for this project was very smooth. 

The two storey steel frame of the primary school is clad with zinc and timber. Timber is used at low level, a warm tactile surface available to the children whilst they enjoy the outdoors. The precast curved wall at the entrance ties the school and the early year's facility together and provides a welcoming entrance for visitors. 

The single storey steel framed nursery promotes the use of timber inside and out, providing a warm and cosy environment for the youngest learners. 

The project started on site in May 2018 and completed in August 2019. The project was delivered on time on budget. The procurement path was Design and Build with novation.

The roof of the school contains over 400sqm of Solar Panels. Low energy emittance lights and low water use fittings are applied throughout the school. A sedum roof covers the early years building and the low level storage units in the playground are covered with sedum plants. 

The landscape design embraces a sustainable approach to play. A growing garden for food production has been created. Water harvesting is used in the water play areas of the playground and is used as a learning tool for the children. 

The school and nursery were designed to provide barrier free accessibility to key teaching and learning spaces. Maidenhill provides free flowing circulation, inviting children to come together and learn regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity or physical impairment. 

The landscape takes a similar approach to design with a gentle flowing concept encouraging children to explore the space without being hampered by changes of level or unnecessary fences, gates or barriers. 


East Renfrewshire

QS / Project Manager

Gardiner & Theobald

Structural Engineer

Blyth & Blyth

M&E Engineer


Fire Engineer

Jeremy Gardner


New Acoustics

Main Contractor


Gross Internal Area


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