Princess Royal opens low-carbon classroom hub at Gordonstoun

The Princess Royal has visited the school her children attended to officially open what is said to be one of the greenest classroom buildings in the UK.

The classroom hub at Gordonstoun School in Moray has environmentally friendly credentials including solar panels, ground source heating and hi-tech C02 monitoring.

Anne unveiled a plaque naming the classroom hub The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms, in honour of the late Queen and with approval from the King – a former Gordonstoun student.

During her visit on Thursday, Anne, who holds the role of Warden at Gordonstoun, met students and was given a guided tour of the building, which has six classrooms along with a staff room and breakout area.

Gordonstoun School
The King is among the royals who attended Gordonstoun School (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Her children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips are among the royals to have been educated at Gordonstoun, as were the late Prince Philip, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.

Gordonstoun principal Lisa Kerr said: “We are committed to providing our students with the best possible learning environment while being mindful of reducing our carbon footprint.

“The low carbon design is a signpost to how we want to develop the rest of the school estate as part of our bold masterplan leading up to the school’s 100th anniversary.

Royal visit to Moray
The Princess Royal at Gordonstoun School in Moray (Gordonstoun school/PA)

“Gordonstoun is always looking for ways to innovate and The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms is the first step in our biggest building project since the Second World War.

“The classroom hub is built to the highest environmental standards and provides our students and staff with the latest facilities, technology and equipment.

“HRH The Princess Royal spent time seeing how AI (artificial intelligence) is used in the classroom and our robotics club gave an impressive demonstration, which hopefully bodes well when they compete in the national championships later in the year.”

Much of the design of the building was inspired by Dumfries House in East Ayrshire, which Charles helped save for the nation in 2007 while he was Prince of Wales, and Gordonstoun representatives visited the estate as part of the planning process.

Dumfries House
Designers were inspired by Dumfries House (PA)

The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms, clad with Siberian Larch timber, have the latest technology, including control systems for removing and adding walls to change the size of the existing rooms, and interactive teaching walls.

Designed by architects Rivington Street Studio, the building opened to students and staff in April 2023 following 14 months of construction.

Rivington Street Studio director Wendy Mason said: “The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms sets the standard for new sustainable teaching and learning spaces across the UK.

“The unique landscape of the Gordonstoun campus allowed us to create a bespoke building, which is very low carbon.

“The buildings we looked at on the Dumfries estate are simple in design but have great character, such as the high ceilings.

“Incorporating such elements at Gordonstoun gave us more freedom to design something unique that is fun and inspiring for the students.”

Royal visit to Moray
The Princess Royal (right) with school principal Lisa Kerr (Gordonstoun school/PA)

The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms were built by construction firm Taylor and Fraser.

Angus MacInnes, construction director, said: “The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms at Gordonstoun is one of the most advanced teaching environments in the UK and without doubt ahead of its time.

“The building is very cutting edge and energy efficient with all the latest mod cons for the students, including interactive teaching walls.”

The building is the first phase of the school’s masterplan to create a new classroom village to upgrade its facilities for students and the local community, while reducing energy and the school’s carbon footprint.