In 1950 Lanarkshire County Council commissioned Basil Spence & Partners to build a new high school on a green-field site, nine miles south of Glasgow. Opened in September 1956, Duncanrig was the first school built in East Kilbride, Scotland’s first designated New Town.
The school was designed for 850 pupils. It consisted of a double height entrance foyer flanked by a single storey dining/kitchen and administration blocks. To the rear of the foyer was the assembly hall and gymnasium block. Seven two- and three-storey classroom blocks housing 22 classrooms were accessed from the ground floor corridor. They included technical classrooms, science labs, art rooms, a domestic science suite and library.
The school buildings covered just seven acres of the site, with the remaining 11 acres being used for playgrounds, playing fields and landscaping. Careful consideration was given to colours, textures and light both inside and outside of the school. Each of the two-storey classroom blocks originally had a sun terrace while the internal wall of the foyer was covered with a colourful mural by William Crosbie representing the history of the Clyde.
The practice also designed the school so that boys and girls could be kept apart for a number of activities. As well as segregated classes there were two gymnasia, separate playgrounds, cloakrooms and even entrances. The treatment of the boys’ and girls’ entrances was quite distinct; the girl’s entrance was timber clad with flower boxes, while the boy’s entrance was given a more robust finish of stone and rubble.
The building is due to be demolished in 2007.