New melbourne school goes with the "flow"
The school wished to build into their curriculum Reggio Emilia’s child-focussed approach and to underpin the design with Csikzentmihalyi’s philosophy of “Flow” (1992) in order to create a state of sustained engagement with learning across a variety of contexts.
The brief was expressed in a variety of statements, including a desire to
"make learning visible", and to create a school that is "amiable…that reinforces the identity, autonomy and security of all stakeholders”. The clients required a building that would support a highly professional and collegiate approach, a place where staff can express their individuality and work alongside students. The building needed to also facilitate expression and translate perceptions into a variety of languages and mediums.
They clients also sought a strong connection to environment and
“expression of communicative, symbolic, imaginative, relational and cognitive languages of children”. Additionally, the design was required to exhibit a recognition of partnering with parents and community, and promote ideas of "participatory democracy”.
Architectural expression of the brief ideals was achieved through a process of consultation with staff, administrators, parents and most importantly the students.
The building feels like a coat which allows air to swirl and freedom to move, yet also can be tightened, to create a sense of cosiness. All interlinking spaces allow uninhibited transition for students, with unrestrained supervision by staff. Central piazzas surrounded by learning spaces and discussion rooms open up via doors and windows to varying degrees, allowing flexibility. Authentic and natural materials create an honest and real experience for the urban students.
Extensive glazing, a strong environmental and sustainable design approach creates a comfortable, calm and thought-provoking learning centre.