The project

Project summary

Prior to commencing the design of the community hub, the Design Team undertook an “Intelligent Briefing” process. This involved consultation with various stakeholder groups including the pupils, staff, Parent Council, local community groups as well as the wider community of Orbiston.

Guiding Principles

While stakeholder engagement enabled the design team to establish specific local requirements for the new Orbiston Community Hub, we also considered North Lanarkshire Councils’ Guiding Principles which underpin the Town and Community Hub programme.

Inclusive, universal provision

A community hub must serve the whole community and offer universal provision of services as default position.


Sense of community ownership

A community hub is a community asset which serves the local community of that area.


Maximum availability and usage

We will look to consolidate any services currently provided in older buildings and incorporate them into the Hub to ensure our services are more cost efficient and sustainable for the future.


Designed with rather than for
the community

To ensure community ownership of the proposed facilities


Tailored, bespoke, representative

The design of the building should provide the community with a sense of pride in the community asset that has been created.


Maximise the services on offer

Public services available within the community hub should complement rather than compete with other services which serve the same local community.

Site Analysis

The site offers a number of potential opportunities and constraints dependent on final building location. Both the Lawmuir and Sacred Heart site offer a strong urban edge to promote civic presence within the community building and help integrate the community hub within the local urban context.

The overall site is naturally split into two large sites – separated at the pinch point between Lawmuir and the Orbiston business centre site, whilst the potential addition of the green space to the west of the Lawmuir site offers a potentially expanded south facing site.

Site appraisal: Building location

As part of the stakeholder engagement process, we discussed site opportunities & constraints and how these would inform decision making relative to the preferred location for the new Community Hub.

The public opinion was evaluated alongside the design team technical appraisal with site Option 2 being the preferred location by all.

Orbiston Site Appraisal building location
Orbiston Site Appraisal building location
Orbiston Site Appraisal building location
Orbiston Site Appraisal building location

Site plans

Orbiston Site

orbiston site

Proposed development site covering existing sites of Sacred Heart Primary School, Lawmuir Primary School and the Orbiston Business Centre site. It is bounded to the west by the Orbiston Bing.

Proposed Site Plan

Orbiston Site plan

A number of site options were developed and discussed through the engagement process with the site to the south of Lawmuir Primary School being the preferred.

“Sacred Heart and Lawmuir Primaries have been on a fantastic journey of consultation, where pupils, staff and parents have been able to view the graphic plans of proposal to ascertain the most popular and inspiring plans for the Orbiston future generation of learners.”

K Somerville, Head teacher
Sacred Heart Primary, Sacred Heart and Orbiston Nurseries.


Initial Design Concepts

During the early stages of design, we looked at numerous building mass options before finding the optimal solution for all building users

Design developments

Final concept design solution has been developed with the following key principles:

Central street

This concept was developed in order to create a central space that connected all of the independent elements in the community hub, whilst also providing an informal cafe/breakout space for the community. The purpose of the central street/zone is to provide an immediate space upon arrival to allow visitors to orientate themselves and have the ability to access the ‘front door’ of each individual element of the hub.

The ‘cafe’ space provides an informal waiting area for visitors or parents whilst doubling as a touchdown space for staff who wish to use the hub as a working base. The school component of the hub is positioned to the rear of the site, creating a natural separation from the public elements and allowing the school pupils easy access to the playground to the north of the building.

Courtyard Gardens

A variety of external teaching and play spaces for the learning areas have developed during the concept design process. The Family Learning Centre has access to a private east facing garden, whilst both school activity areas have the ability to open up to external space to encourage the link between indoor and outdoor learning. A private elevated outdoor space has been created to provide a secure environment for the school pupils on the first floor.

This south facing space on the first floor is envisaged to be used as a herb/vegetable garden that will enhance the delivery of the health and wellbeing curriculum. The secure playground space to the north of the building is connected to a 11-aside sports pitch located on the site of the old Orbiston Business Centre east of the community hub building

3D Proposed Massings
3D Proposed Massings

Proposed Massing

Anchored in the south east corner of the Lawmuir Primary School site, with the community facing components addressing Babylon Road, the building is given civic presence and a welcoming and open aspect. It is critical that this building feels part of the community and is distinctly different from the historic appearance of a school; a fenced of building saying stay away/keep out.

The street elevation is primarily single storey, reinforcing the sense of civic presence by its relationship to the public realm and approachability through scale and mass. This element shields the 2 storey education components to the north, orientated east west to provide the best opportunities for energy balance, as tested through parametric modelling.

External learning and play space will be created to the north of the new community hub with learning courtyards between the teaching wings and the shared spaces providing seamless links between inside and outside learning spaces.