Ayrshire College

Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus

Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus

As one of the largest providers of further education in South West Scotland, Ayrshire College’s new higher education Kilmarnock campus has transformed the physical and learning landscape of the town.

The land was gifted to Ayrshire College by previous owners, drinks company Diageo, following the closure of a whisky bottling plant; a former major employer in the area. Committing to the regeneration of the community, the Scottish Government contributed £48.5 million towards the redevelopment; the single largest public sector investment the town has ever seen.

Kilmarnock campus now accommodates 5,500 students, 338 staff and more than 100 courses, encompassing all curriculum areas, with a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering and apprenticeship programmes. It also houses a health and wellbeing centre, hair and beauty training salon, training restaurant and café and lecture theatre.

Officially opened by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, on December 12th 2016, she was hugely impressed with the state-of-the-art facilities and commented;

“This is an absolutely stunning campus and there is so much to be impressed by here. I would like to thank everyone involved who worked so hard in bringing this campus to fruition.’’

The client’s aspirations envisaged an inclusive, welcoming building that promoted a range of collaborative and interactive learning experiences with modern, sustainable facilities that can meet the future aspirations of college.

Ramboll’s wealth of experience in designing low energy buildings and ability to provide a coordinated approach were valued by the client and contractor and contributed to Ramboll being appointed to provide multi-disciplinary engineering services, including; structural, building services, fire, geotechnical, environmental, flood assessments, civil, transport planning and BREEAM services. 

Designed by architects RMJM and Keppie Design, the building answers the clients brief by placing two legs of teaching accommodation around a central atrium space, creating a welcoming and vibrant environment for students and staff as well as an open, easily understood series of interconnected spaces.  

Structural, geotechnical and environmental work

The structural system for the building provided a steel structural frame which was the vertical support for the Precast suspended and metal shuttered in-situ floor slabs. The steelwork was fabricated with penetrations to provide a fully integrated building services design, sharing the same design space as often as possible.  Several large transfer structures provide flexibility and allow the maximum use of the spaces within the building.  To help create a welcoming environment, the main atrium roof provides an open space, created by large open spans being crossed with steel trusses integrated into the saw tooth roof line of roof lights.

Ramboll’s geotechnical and structural team members developed the foundation system for the campus to minimise time and cost for the project by taking advantage of the complex ground conditions which resulted in a split foundation system.

Due to the historical use of the site the environmental and contamination team carried out extensive desk studies and testing regime to fully review the site and to design procedures for the contractor and site teams to work within the site, minimising the impact on disruption to programme and cost as the site was prepared and then constructed on.

An outcome of this and the split foundation system is the building footprint was architecturally required to be raised above the existing ground levels. This allowed the mass excavation of the car park and games pitch to accommodate the vast level of storm water retention required for the site, compared to a previous site which was all hard standing and drained to two vast collectors to take it off site.

Sustainability strategy

Sustainability formed a primary driver of the brief for the new campus and a ‘Fabric First’ approach was adopted with the functions and nature of the departments within the building being carefully considered during space planning. Maximising the use of passive design strategies, natural daylight and natural ventilation informed the design of spaces throughout the building, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. The building also makes use of night cooling by using the exposed concrete soffits to enhance thermal comfort while its envelope is designed to optimise glazing performance by reducing solar gains and maximising natural light.

The implemented passive design strategy resulted in a limited number of renewable technologies being needed to reach the client’s sustainability and energy efficiency targets, EPC rating B and BREEAM rating ‘Outstanding’. The new building integrates a 600kW biomass boiler and 330sqm of photovoltaic panels, which provide low carbon heating, domestic hot water and electricity, and heat pumps which supply a high efficiency cooling system.

The passive design strategy and renewable strategy helped the building achieve the highest available BREEAM rating of ‘Outstanding’ at design stage. Ayrshire College Kilmarnock campus is only one of three educational facilities to date to achieve this and is on target to translate the achievement to the post construction phase.


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

Other sites

Other sites