Keppie reveals outcome of enterprise project

Ayr College Kilmarnock Campus 2

KEPPIE Design, in partnership with East Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College, has announced that Cumnock Academy has been awarded the top prize at the finale of its INTERACTION challenge.

The finale of INTERACTION, an enterprise education challenge in which seven secondary schools in East Ayrshire participated, was held in the council chambers and was hosted by TV personality and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Pupils were challenged to design an inspirational, flexible and open learning space for the new Ayrshire College campus, which is being built on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and for which Keppie is the delivery architect.  Using the construction project as the basis for the brief, the college has been acting as a client for the students.

David Ross, design director from Keppie and the creator of INTERACTION, said,  “As part of their business and enterprise programmes, the school pupils have been learning skills and attitudes to help prepare them for the world of work.  The INTERACTION project is a great way to develop those skills and to help create the open, interactive and collaborative learning environment the new college is aspiring to be. It has been fantastic to see all of the teams’ incredible design ideas. 

“The judging panel of design professionals, educators and leading business people were genuinely speechless at the quality of the ideas and the polished way in which they were presented. The teams from all of the participating schools are an absolute credit to East Ayrshire and exemplify the mature and innovative way in which learning is delivered in the area.”

The winning design from Cumnock Academy will form the basis of the solution which the college team (including Keppie Design, structural engineer Ramboll, contractor McLaughlin & Harvey and interior designer Space Solutions) will implement, with the winning team remaining part of the process.  The next step is to present the design solution to the college’s project board.

Cumnock Academy demonstrated thinking in a wide variety of areas including furniture, lighting, acoustics and fabrics.  The team presented a comprehensive solution that showed a significant amount of background research which included testing the durability of materials, the flow of traffic in the college and accessibility of the space.  The team also showed several skills by using video content and the use of modelling software in their presentation.

Professor Christopher Platt, judge and head of Mackintosh School of Architecture, added,  “The INTERACTION project is a fantastic example of schools, higher education and industry working together. Architecture is not taught in schools as a subject so it is increasingly important for firms like Keppie to engage with education to improve how the profession is perceived by those who may go on to become the architects of the future.”

David Ross explained the background to the project and its aspirations,  “In general terms, architects engage far less with the communities in which we operate than we’d like to admit, given that listening and communicating with those who experience our work is an essential part of the job.  To an extent, this could be as a consequence of a gulf between education and practice which has already been recognised by many educators.  By addressing this issue there is an opportunity for architectural practices to become directly involved in changing how the profession is understood and perceived by those who may go on to become the architects of the future.”