Monday, 22 November 2010

Keppies to change Orkney for good!

Keppies fantastic new proposal for Stromness Primary School
You know, I was over the moon today when I spotted the news on the Urban Realm website that Keppie Design have been commissioned to design Orkney Islands Council’s £50m Schools Investment Programme. By the way, Urban Realm is a favourite of mine for gossip and tittle-tattle around the development scene in Scotland and is especially known for its uncritical reporting. This is fantastic news and another kick in the teeth for some of Scotland's so-called boutique architecture firms as well as a big vote of confidence for this great company, fresh from its success at the Highland Housing Expo where they won my category of best house ever, in the world.

So let's have a look at what is being proposed here. The contract will see Keppie working with Morrison Construction - the building arm of the well known supermarket chain - to deliver a grammar school, theatre and halls of residence in Kirkwall, a primary school in Stromness, a leisure hall and squash courts at the Pickaquoy Centre and all weather sports pitches in Stromness and Kirkwall. It will be just as if the army had arrived there again to build camps, defences and other facilities at the start of World War II - except it will be different.

This is great news for Orkney which is struggling to find a contemporary identity in the 21st century. Black houses, mud huts and thatched roofed slums will be swept aside to create a new modern look for the islands. Brightly coloured cladding, plate glass, carpet tiles and other mod-cons will completely jerk the islanders out of their Victorian outfits and habits. It's a win-win situation for the Council and will herald a New Enlightenment for the islands in which people can read and write again. "Integrating the architecture with interior and landscape design Keppie will prioritise longevity and robustness given the vagaries of the Orkney climate whilst harnessing abundant natural energy", said Peter Moran, Director of Education at Keppie.

Wonderful and well spoken that man! I can tell you now, I wish I had been educated in a Keppies School - I might have turned out better! I congratulate the Council on their foresight in appointing such a great, stylish and appropriate firm of architects to undertake this important work and offer some hope for the future in this miserable part of Scotland.


Tim R said...

This is indeed great news! I just LOVE Keppies bright building in Dundee, the one you see from the train near the station, at the digital media park. Probably your kind of building too. I think that's their handiwork, isn't it?


Dave Thompson said...

Thanks Tim and hello again!!! Your taste and judgement are spot-on as usual. I don't know about Keppies work in Dundee but it should be easy to find out.
Yours in planning

Dave T