Architecture firm Elder & Cannon collected both an RIBA Award and Civic Trust Award for their primary school design in 1999. They chose not to follow the typical one-storey structure, as St. Aloysius College wished to keep the school within the city centre near its other buildings. The restricted space and constraints of the site proved challenging for the firm, but from these problems came creative solutions, organising the school vertically instead of the typical primary that is organised horizontally. While the school is two storeys taller than either of its neighbours, the use of lines to match the elevation, and the last floors set back, give the impression of similar height.
The firm also designed the college’s Clavius Building, home to the Maths and Science departments, across from the famous Mackintosh designed Glasgow School of Art. This too proved challenging for similar reasons; a constricted space to work with, but with the added complexity of a sloping street. The larger side wall facing onto Scott Street creates the impression that the rest of the building has folded out of a box, or pulled out of a drawer, reinforced by the large bay window jutting out over the pavement. Like their previous building for the school, it also won the RIBA award in 2004.
Key to the design was providing a safe and secure teaching environment for the children. This was primarily accomplished by raising all classrooms above the ground floor, but also through smart design of the windows and bays. Each classroom occupying the five-storey south facing side contains full height window walls, divided into two different bays. Two different techniques were employed to allow the rooms an airy feel, while still maintaining the privacy of the school. One of the bays is fitted with blinds to maximise light, reduce glare and limit the children from distractions outside. The second relies on computer-controlled enamelled glass louvres for solar shading, offering unrestricted views and extra ventilation on hot days.