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Inspiring Learning Space of the Year 2022

As part of the regeneration programme of the Craigmillar area, The City of Edinburgh Council were keen to create learning spaces that, not only inspired the students but instilled a sense of calm and encouraged a greater attendance rate. Castlebrae Community Campus barely survived the threat of closure less than a decade ago, the "Save The Brae" campaign and the sheer determination of the Senior Leadership Team ensured the school became a key focus for the regeneration and investment in the local community.

Fundamental to our task, was the incorporation of flexible learning spaces across the campus, to not only improve collaboration and inter-disciplinary working but also allow for expansion in future years. From learning plazas, house-pods and breakout spaces to adaptable, movable furniture, the design of the building’s interiors truly unlocks each individuals learning potential.

Bespoke specialist areas, including a health and wellbeing room, sensory spaces and safe spaces were also designed, in a biophilic style across this inclusive campus, to create a suitable provision for SEND learners. Space Zero was commissioned to design and fit out several vocational spaces, such as health and beauty facilities, a multifunctional dance studio and creative studios, all crafted through workshop consultation with each individual faculty. One of the most notable achievements is the creation of the super-lab. A STEM space that not only improves communication, participation and collaboration, due to the very nature of the horseshoe design but also acclimatises learners to academic industry-level facilities, preparing them for HE and beyond.

The outcome of this is an award-winning secondary school that opened in the spring of 2022. The interiors have the learner, educator and community at their heart. In clear contrast to the legacy school, Castlebrae Community Campus is now an inviting, engaging and inclusive environment, where learners' performance, confidence, behaviour, attitude, attendance, values, ethics and belonging have all been influenced by the design of the learning environment. It stands as a testament to the philosophy of designing from the inside out.