Replacement of ancillary buildings will enhance site
Whilst forming part of the listing, three of the later buildings on the site are of far lesser quality than the main school building. Whilst the feasibility study simply proposed that the volume of these structures provided sufficient space for the needs of the school, the submitted design makes a virtue of their removal and replacement.
The loss of the concrete 1940s teaching block to the west is clearly beneficial, but the removal of the 1930s dining hall and badly compromised Victorian gymnasium/swimming pool block (replaced with lower but more extensive new buildings), allows a return to something far closer to Hamilton's original vision of a gateway to Edinburgh's Acropolis
An exceptional new school building
The RHSPT was determined that any replacement buildings had to be an exemplar of 21st century attitudes to design and to education. The good functioning of the school points to all teaching accommodation being on a single level and all residential accommodation on another. It is also desirable that teaching accommodation is concentrated around the centre of the school.
A low level, ground hugging profile, which continues the horizontality of Hamilton's design achieves these goals, whilst once again revealing Hamilton's belvedere and great retaining wall. The fact that the new buildings are lower than the later buildings proposed for demolition reinforces the primacy of the principal building.
An integrated education
Because the school draws the most talented pupils from across Scotland, high quality boarding accommodation is essential. This will not only benefit the pupils, but provide a strong source of income to the school during holidays.
The bedrooms are arranged to ensure they generally look into gardens, and that no bedroom looks directly into another. Access is via an entrance staircase and lift from the upper level on the east side, and via a spiral stair in the centre of the plan, giving direct access to the main play spaces above.
The roof of the southern part of the residential accommodation forms a continuous landscape with the play space, so that it appears to be part of the terraced hillside.