Dollar Academy 6th Form Centre

The aspiration for the new Sixth Form Centre, carved out from the former gymnasium, was to create a transitional space for the students, giving them an independent, flexible social space unlike any within the school. In looking to their future beyond the Academy, the aim was to provide a fun but sophisticated space: part café, part living room, part work place.

The conversion of the now redundant gym involved stripping out the existing linings to reveal the original structure - a combination of 19th century stonework and composite concrete and steel construction, typical of the 1960’s. The introduction of a curved glass and steel structure spanning between staircases allows the study pod to ‘float’ above the activity spaces below.

The original concrete encased steel beams have been left exposed and coupled with a limited palette of natural lacquered birch faced ply, perforated metal sheet, Staron worktops and black Prelasti rubber to the stairs and alcoves. Bespoke manufactured joinery items include concealed under-stair storage for additional seating, stainless steel sink unit, moveable partitions, new banquette seating in birch and white laminate faced ply with exposed laminations and a moveable media wall.

Upholstery fabric was sourced from Isle of Harris Tweed and local leather suppliers Andrew Muirhead. Locally manufactured Forbo products were used for the flooring and desk inlays. On a tight FF&E budget a combination of off-the-shelf pieces of furniture were brought together with new and salvaged pieces supplied by Moleta Munro, Tojo and the Historic Lighting Company.