Merging schools is never easy. The task must be like a corporate takeover, with the added dilemma of deciding which uniform to adopt and which one to ditch. In the case of the recent joining of Dunrobin and Petersburn primaries in Airdrie, there was the added complication of the development of a brand new, £17m construction project that was to become the new home to approximately 500 pupils.

As well as accommodating the newly merged academic in-take, the building also needed to include a nursery and a language and communication support centre. Adjacent to the former Dunrobin Primary School building, which was demolished to make way for additional car parking and a new sports pitch, the newly opened Hilltop Primary is turning heads and winning awards, thanks to its eye-catching tower and modern external and internal cladding.

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall Construction in Scotland, said: “Across Scotland, public sector leaders are looking to provide first-class teaching spaces to ensure our young people have the best possible start in life. But in an era of continued austerity, they’re challenged to ensure any investment is incredibly efficient.

“Co-locating neighboring schools in need of renovation and expansion, into modern campuses can undoubtedly be part of the solution. Delivering this kind of project requires open and early dialogue between every stakeholder involved. Careful consideration of how each former school’s identity can form part of the new establishment is all important.

“Involving pupils in the design of the new school uniform was a great touch and we were delighted to play our part in that by providing the ties to mark the project’s completion.”

The iconic school building has won Best New Build Project at the annual Roofing, Cladding and Insulation (RCI) Magazine awards, which are held every year to recognize excellence and innovation in construction. Highlighting the Hilltop Primary, the judges said: “This project has a unique, drum shaped frontage that creates a strong and architecturally diverse structure. It follows the modern school design and has been very well executed.”

Boasting an imposing rounded front, the striking effect is created using 10mm copper-effect Parklex cladding, which was specified by Glasgow-based Reid Roof and supplied by Vivalda Scotland, which has an office in nearby Cumbernauld. Project architect was Norr Consultants, which has an office in Glasgow.

William Barlow, office manager at Vivalda Scotland, said: “This was a technically challenging project given the fact that the sustainable wood cladding was curved on-site to create such a stunning effect. Credit should go to Glasgow’s Reid Roof who developed the solution using aluminum T profiles with an aluminum flat plate to construct a ‘mould’ which was used to shape the cladding.

“Whilst the entire project at Hilltop school looks fantastic, one of its defining features is definitely the ‘drum’ section of the building, which contributed to its award-winning status. This unique elevation was achieved by the installer fabricating a bespoke backing substrate using the Nvelope rail system. This allowed the panels to be bonded utilising the Sika tack adhesive to create the curved panel effect. The panel used was the 10mm Parklex board in Copper finish. The material is manufactured in Spain and provides a very premium looking finish due to being produced from natural wood.

“The most challenging aspect of the project was the use of Sika adhesive in Scotland’s bracing climate as it requires an ambient temperature of over 50c for at least eight hours, which is a rare meteorological phenomenon north of the border!”.