Futures Institute at Dollar Academy

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Dollar Academy Futures Institute, FIDA Scottish School Building Photos, Education Design Scotland

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy, Scotland

30 June 2022

Design: Grimshaw, Architects

Location: Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland, UK

Grimshaw-designed Futures Institute at the Dollar Academy set to transform education and will be Scotland’s first Living Building

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy, Scotland

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy News

30th of June 2022 – International architecture practice, Grimshaw has revealed designs for the Futures Institute at Dollar Academy (FIDA) in Scotland, UK, a permanent home for the Institute which will be delivered to receive the country’s first Living Building certification.

FIDA was launched in May 2021 to tackle three fundamental challenges in education – providing equitable access and closing the poverty related attainment gap; finding compelling alternatives to traditional teaching and exam systems; and addressing sustainability. The initiative provides young people across Scotland with unique opportunities to undertake real-world challenges founded on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. These take the form of workshops, skills-based courses, design challenges and competitions, all of which are offered either in person and/ or via an online platform to enable the widest possible participation.

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy, Scotland

“Dollar Academy has always promoted the transformative power of education, and this idea is at the very heart of FIDA,” says Ian Munro, Rector at Dollar Academy, “ FIDA’s free online provision and in-person workshops have allowed us to further develop our existing bursary provision in a modern and scalable way to children across the country, and beyond.”

Situated at the southern end of the Dollar Academy campus, FIDA occupies a site within view of the 1819 Grade A historic building by Playfair from which the school grew. Accessed by a network of pathways and botanical gardens reinstated from a previous nineteenth century plan, the Institute’s biophilic form lies immersed in a working landscape. Heavily planted terraces, berms ponds and swales support the building’s water and waste needs, providing an invaluable educational resource and an inspirational recreational environment.

The building has been designed at every step to meet the criteria set out in the Living Building Challenge set forth by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), imagining a building that is beautiful and efficient, but in balance with our planet and its population. The design approach seeks to minimise embodied carbon through efficient, economic structural form and careful material selection. The only use of concrete is in the foundation.

The buildings enclosing walls are constructed with a glue laminated timber frame infilled with locally sourced stone in gabion frames. The overall enclosure is fabricated from a lightweight, glue laminated geodesic dome that is clad both with the latest generation of insulated ETFE pillows and solid insulated panes with photovoltaic panels. This roof can maximize passive solar gain throughout the year with full ventilation capabilities for summer.

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy, Scotland

Flooded with natural light, the interior is meant to capture the sense of being in a highly tempered outdoor space. The ground floor is centred on a large open space for projects and performances and is linked to the first floor by stepped auditorium seating constructed from timber. Workshops and laboratories line the perimeter with glazing providing transparency and openness. The first floor is constructed from cross-laminated timber with space for traditional and experimental gardens. A flexible, partitioned classroom structure spans the open void offering a multi-use landscaped roof terrace.

“Dollar Academy has a long history of encouraging students to explore the arts which of course fuels the imagination and creative problem solving,” said Andrew Whalley, Chairman of Grimshaw and Dollar Academy alum. “It’s now leading the way with a paradigm shift in learning, to be shared as an open platform resource. Such an initiative requires an equally fresh approach to its future centre, with an architecture that will support team working, collaboration and exploring new creative sustainable solutions that will empower and inspire the next generation to tackle the planetary problems we now all face.”

Professor Ken Muir, who was commissioned by Scottish Government to provide a report on education reform, said, “FIDA’s bold approach to education places the student experience at the centre, providing critical opportunities to engage with industry and stakeholders beyond the classroom. This aligns closely with some of the recommendations I made in my report to Scottish Government on a future vision for Scottish education and I am highly impressed with what the initiative aims to do.”

FIDA is also set to be a driver for the local economy and has established a new partnership with Scotland’s International Environment Centre, Clacks Council and Stirling University. With these partners, FIDA is exploring how a sustainable business accelerator could take the ideas generated by young people and turn them into reality, fostering entrepreneurism and empowerment.

Lead architect: Grimshaw
Engineering: Buro Happold


About Grimshaw

Grimshaw is an international architectural practice delivering buildings, infrastructure and places that are underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring, sustainable design. With offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Dubai, Melbourne and Sydney, Grimshaw employs over 600 staff. The practice’s international portfolio covers all major sectors and has been honoured with over 200 international design awards.

About Dollar Academy

Dollar Academy is recognised as one of Scotland’s leading independent schools. As the world’s oldest co-educational day and boarding school, it has been developing its pupils for over 200 years. Located in the small town of Dollar in Central Scotland, the school is home to around 1350 pupils aged 5-18. Vibrant, talented and always welcoming, all individuals at Dollar Academy work to create a positive atmosphere where the core values of “work hard, be kind and get involved” will thrive.

About the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)

The International Living Future Institute is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Our beautiful planet is capable of supporting vast diverse ecosystems, allowing human communities to thrive, and we are capable as a species of living in balance with ecosystems and in balance with each other.

At ILFI, we envision a future where our planet and humanity are thriving, and we work towards that future every day. We refer to this future as the Living Future. Our mission is a society that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.

Living Future Accreditation

Futures Institute at Dollar Academy building design by Grimshaw Architects, UK

Previously on e-architect:

1 Nov 2016

The Westwater Building at Dollar Academy

Design: Page Park Architects

Location: Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland

Facility: Modern Languages and Economics Departments

The Westwater Building Dollar Academy

Westwater Building Dollar Academy

This modest pavilion teaching building for Dollar Academy, nestles into the site at the foot of the Ochil Hills alongside the impressive principle school building, designed by William Henry Playfair. It forms a component of Dollar Academy’s new ‘Teaching L’ which edges the all weather hockey pitch, conceived as an open ‘quad’ at the heart of the campus.

The Westwater Building Dollar Academy images / information received from Page Park Architects 011116

Page Park Architects on e-architect

Dollar Academy Scotland – background

Address: Dollar Academy, 1 Academy Pl, Dollar FK14 7DU, Scotland
Phone: 01259 742511

Architecture in Scotland

Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list

Scottish Architecture News

Scottish Architecture

Website: The Westwater Building Dollar Academy by Page Park Architects

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