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Hillend Road, Inverkeithing High School

A Category B Listed Building in Inverkeithing, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0356 / 56°2'8"N

Longitude: -3.3861 / 3°23'9"W

OS Eastings: 313729

OS Northings: 683391

OS Grid: NT137833

Mapcode National: GBR 21.RM7H

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.YKQD

Entry Name: Hillend Road, Inverkeithing High School

Listing Date: 4 August 2004

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397654

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49945

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Inverkeithing

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife

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Inverkeithing

Description

Fife County Council Architects, 1968-1973; Gavin McConnell project architect, (R S Lawrie county architect; Blyth & Blyth engineers). Extensive Late Modern high school complex, with large rectangular 4-storey classroom block on central NS axis, partially standing on round-plan steel pilotis; 2-storey, rectangular-plan administration block radiating to SW and single storey, U-plan technical block to NW; single and 2-storey ribbed concrete circular pavilions (science and homecraft departments) partially sunk in ground (and partially on pilotis) to NE and SE; the whole roughly forming an I-plan. Dry-dash render; ribbed concrete block work. Ambulatories beneath classroom and administration blocks with pilotis. Open courtyard to W of classroom block. Single storey, rectangular-plan gymnasium/community centre block to W of courtyard. Small green house and gardens to N of technical block. Vertical and horizontal pine surfaces throughout providing decorative treatment to walls, doorways, windows and handrails (mostly internal but also some external treatment). Wide continuous horizontal metal-framed glazing with black Perspex detailing; some thin vertical glazing to classroom block. Wide overhanging concrete eaves of chamfered and ribbed block panels, some panels with vertical emphasis.

ADMINISTRATION BLOCK: on EW axis. 1st floor overhanging ground floor with surrounding ambulatory supported by pilotis. Chamfered, diagonally ribbed and moulded overhanging concrete eaves; 3 projecting concrete blocks of same treatment with flanking vertical and horizontal windows. Interior: narrow split-level main entrance; terrazzo flooring, steel railings, narrow tongue and groove pine panelling; gangway access to main office at 1st floor level with wide pine hand rails; gangway hung with fibreglass artwork depicting history of Inverkeithing and the universe (circa 1974, Inverkeithing High School Art Department). Double height assembly hall to centre of plan to N fully clad in tongue and groove timber, splayed roof beams set diagonally across hall and hung approximately 75 cm below ceiling, up-lighting inserted into roof beams; mezzanine to S. Tongue and groove timber wall treatment to board room (former nurses station) and staff room (at 1st floor). 2 dining rooms to ground floor W with pilotis supports throughout.

CLASSROOM BLOCK: long roughly rectangular-plan on ground sloping to N. 2-, 3- and 4-stories on single and double pilotis. Grouping of roof-top classrooms in purpose-built blocks to S accommodating geography and music departments, with individual classrooms and studios set diagonally with low pitched roofs; glazed walkway to E. Art department separate to N (part of main block at 4th floor level). Interior: generally plain treatment with black and white linoleum flooring, drop ceilings. Pine finishes to central lobby (at east entrance) with locker and seating facilities; geometric tongue and groove pine ceiling treatment to stairwells. Double-height former library to SW of plan (fully glazed to W); lined with tongue and groove pine; mezzanine to E.

SCIENCE (to NE) AND HOMECRAFT (to SE) BLOCKS: science block partially set in ground to N on pilotis infilled with new school library (2002); single-storey homecraft block. Science block interior: central circular lecture theatre; decorative narrow tongue and groove pine wall and ceiling treatment; central circular rooflight with timber clad beams radiating from centre; full height vertical openings at regular intervals; theatre seating; large curved desk on plinth to centre; radiating laboratories and offices; (access corridor separating lecture hall from outer rooms). Homecraft block interior: large central circular dining hall with roof design similar to science block lecture theatre; classrooms to periphery.

TECHNICAL BLOCK: ribbed concrete overhanging eaves; service doors to W; flush rectangular rooflights throughout. Interior: workshops and laboratories; louvered timber ceilings; decorative black and white linoleum and parquet flooring.

GYMNASIUM/COMMUNITY CENTRE BLOCK: plain flat-roofed building. Interior: curved information office with vertical timber ribbing; sunken circular reception area with black and white terrazzo flooring; horizontal and vertical tongue and groove pine finishes to walls. Exposed brick to corridor walls. Sunken rectangular rehearsal/performance space to centre of plan. Swimming pool with blue and white tiling to walls; drop ceiling with wide chamfered roof beams. Large rectangular gymnasium to NW of plan with narrow tongue and groove pine to upper walls and ceiling; narrow strip windows.

Statement of Interest

Inverkeithing High School demonstrates an inventive Late Modern design executed by the Fife County Council architects. Before the completion of the project in 1973, J Fisher took over as chief architect at Fife County Council. The high school's bold plan, in particular its two large circular pavilions, demonstrates a clear shift from the more rational, functional school designs of the 1950s and early 1960s, aspiring to the sculptural and signature designs emerging in contemporary architecture, introducing megastructural elements such as ramps and bridges. An earlier precedent in Scotland is seen at Lanark County Buildings, Hamilton (see separate listing) by D G Bannerman (1959-1964) where a monumental curtain-walled administrative tower is juxtaposed with a separate circular council chamber. The idea of expressing individual parts of the building was not only a Late Modern feature but is also a function of the evolving school curriculum of the 1960s and '70s which emphasised social activity along with academic purpose. This aspiration is fully exploited at Inverkeithing High School with a central courtyard, a number of ambulatory spaces, spacious dining rooms, informal seating areas and classrooms in innovative settings. The delineation of the Geography, Music and Art departments on the roof is both practical and innovative and continues to offer creative inspiration today. The overall decorative treatment of the school is of high specification and the interiors, in particular, clearly demonstrate a Scandinavian influence. The school is a significant achievement from the County Council office as it can be considered to be some of the last good collaborative architecture to be produced in Scotland, following in the spirit of the ambitious design and building programmes for social housing and New Towns just prior to the reorganisation of local governments in 1975. In 1972, the school leaving age was raised and large schools were built primarily in areas where large housing estates had been recently established (as was the case at Inverkeithing). This high school not only provided excellent accommodation for students, but also supplied the local community with a public swimming pool and community centre. There are a number of precedents for listing post-war schools in other parts of Scotland in particular those of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in the Glasgow area (see separate listing for Our Lady's High School, Dowanfield Road, Cumbernauld). The high school at Inverkeithing would indeed equal those schools already recognised. A new library has been inserted under the Science pavilion in 2002 but this addition has not compromised the overall design of the school. Other alterations include the former flat roof of the Art Department being replaced with a low piended roof; but this also has not unduly compromised the profile of this multi-faceted building. Inverkeithing Nursery School located to the SW of the high school was opened in 1975 and was extended to the W in the early 21st century. For a context of post-war building and design in Scotland, reference was made to M Glendinning, ed., REBUILDING SCOTLAND: THE POST WAR VISION 1945-1975 (1997). For specific information on school building, see Walter M Stephen, FABRIC AND FUNCTION: A CENTURY OF SCHOOL BUILDING IN EDINBURGH 1872-1972 (1996).

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