Holmlea Primary School




ARCHITECTURE: Affordable Housing


Anderson Bell Christie


Home Group Scotland


The project has completely regenerated the surrounding area as well as the school itself; having closed in 2005 it had lain empty, deteriorated with the ravages of time and systematic stripping of valuable raw materials before becoming a hive of anti-social behaviour. Now standing as a beacon as you cross the bridge into Cathcart, the regeneration has allowed the 'back' of the site to engage with and engrain itself within the robust tenemental forms of Cathcart whilst maintaining its historic facade. A full circle approach, with former pupils of the school being amongst those who have benefited from its restoration.

Designing for wellbeing - placemaking that takes account of culture and heritage:             

The redevelopment of Holmlea School encapsulates what placemaking is all about: 'capitalising on a community's unique assets, inspiration and potential with the intention of creating public spaces and  places  that promote people's health, happiness and wellbeing.' 

The project focuses on the regeneration of the Grade B listed, Andrew Balfour designed former Holmlea Primary School in Cathcart creating 49 unique homes for the affordable rental market. The stunning example of the architect's work of the early 1900s retained its magnificent baroque style façade, however original internal features had suffered the ravages of time and the systematic stripping on the buildings valuable raw materials following the school closure in 2005 which caused damage throughout the internal structure and saw the site become a hive of anti-social behaviour.

Working closely with the client, Home Group Scotland, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and Cathcart and District Housing Association, ABC's design delivered on Home Group's ambition to retain as much of Balfour's original design and seamlessly marry it with the requirements of modern living, providing much needed accommodation for the area. The move has helped create a positive, full circle element to the project, with former pupils of the school being amongst those whom have benefited from its restoration - and a unique new place to live.

The design centred around creating a series of one and two bedroom flats and maisonettes within the original building, whilst an extension and two new blocks were added to the north of the site, comprising 18 two bedroom flats. This deliberate approach ensured the outlook from the south facing façade remained uninterrupted. This focus on the visual amenity and the importance of the dominant