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Latitude: 55.8922 / 55°53'32"N
Longitude: -4.2436 / 4°14'37"W
OS Eastings: 259788
OS Northings: 668843
OS Grid: NS597688
Mapcode National: GBR 0N7.VJ
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.S5F8
Entry Name: 284-288 (Even Nos) Ashgill Road, Chirnsyde Primary School and Janitor`s House
Listing Date: 6 April 1992
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 377628
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33735
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Canal
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
Ninian R Johnston (Boswell, Mitchell and Johnston architects), 1950; Paul Zunterstein (sculptor), 1953. An early post-WWII school. Built of reinforced concrete with a brick and glass skin and a very shallow pitched synthetic roof. Long, 2-storey, rectangular teaching block with 2 lower, N-facing projections. Two entrance blocks. At W end taller hall with large window to N. At rear and W lower ranges of specialist teaching areas stepped down hill. Concrete sculptural group of mother and child to north elevation.
JANITOR'S HOUSE: single storey, L-plan bungalow, en-suite with school, sited to NW. Brick, metal casement windows, no stacks, shallow pitched , bituminous felt, piended roof. Entrance to N in projecting porch to right of centre with catslide roof; small recess to left. Broad loggia with generous glazing to S elevation
Chirnsyde Primary School, an early example of post-war school design, is among the first in Scotland to define a new approach to Modernist architecture, moving away from the classical and symmetrical designs of the interwar period. These new schools - built in the immediate post-war period while building restrictions were still in place - were often built to specifically suit their location and their purpose, while still retaining the rational aesthetics of the functional, horizontal Modern Movement designs of the 1930s. Chirnsyde Primary has a largely unaltered plan that takes full advantage of its elevated position. The assymetrical cubic composition is carefully modulated and is particularly well designed for the site, taking advantage of the hill rising to the south. At the rear and to the west there are lower ranges of specialist teaching blocks stepped down the hill.
This building is an early example of some of the best schools schemes designed by independent practices in the 1950s, demonstrating an interesting assemblage of linked blocks, as an important component of an associated housing estate.
Ninian R J Johnston (1912-1990) was principal architect at Boswell, Mitchell and Johnston during the period this school building was erected. During the 1950s the practice, under the influence of Johnston, went on to design a number of schools in the greater Glasgow area, including Garthamlock Secondary School (c.1955), Hutcheson's Boys Grammar School (1957-1960), Woodcroft Primary School, Garthamlock (1958) and the category B-listed Dalreoch Primary, Dumbarton (1953) (see separate listing) which contains artwork by artist Sir David Donaldson RSA RP LLD (1916-1996). Ninian Johnston was known to collaborate with artists and Chirnsyde Primary also included art as part of the scheme, notably a concrete sculptural group (damaged 2014) by Austrian refugee sculptor, Paul Zurnterstein (1921-68). Zunterstein studied under Benno Schotz and taught at the Glasgow Schoold of Art. Chirnsyde Primary was also known to display a mural by Donaldson but this has since been lost.
Listed building record updated, 2014.
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