Reimagining Egyptian Halls, Glasgow

International competition, Commendation

        Contemporary urban practice identifies that a 'return to the city' is now the necessary course to rescue urban centres from over-commercialisation and privatisation, reinstating the city as a place to work, live and learn. With attention paid to this movement, the city of Glasgow is currently in the throes of a programme of implementing and developing strategies to make the city a more liveable environment. With this, provision of amenity is essential to ensure that the city can fulfil its future aims. This project proposes the Egyptian Halls as a component in this strategy, adjusted and reformulated into an inner-city primary school, of around two hundred and forty pupils, serving inhabitants of the city centre.

The plans for the adapted building form a new spatial composition clustering classrooms and support spaces along a spine of circulation within Thomson's original construction, opening the building to a generous availability of light and spatial variety. Two spiral staircases flank central corridors which act as streets feeding into a sequence of squares - the gym hall and cafeteria. Each square forms a double-height volume, creating galleries to the upper level that serve to open the floor plates of the building, pulling light further into the relatively deep plan and negating the occurrence of internalised rooms of study.

Internally, the historic structural grid has been rearranged, the original cast-iron columns integrated into the new structural system. To the classrooms and cloakrooms, clerestory windows at high level further permit light within the building and provide spatial continuity between the rooms. 

A palette of birch plywood and ceramic tile create a robust yet light finish to the internal spaces. Playground space for the school is accommodated within the original attic storey of the Egyptian Halls. Set behind Thomson’s modelled parapet, the outdoor area is maximised through the addition of a second enclosed level of play space recessed from the original building boundary limiting its visual impact on the facade.