Thomson Adsett reconfigures primary school in New South Wales
This project at St. Paul’s Catholic Primary School represents a complete re-evaluation of a traditional primary school. The project was constructed on a tight site in an historic town. It synthesises the functional requirements of the client brief with the heritage and urban planning concerns of the local council and heritage advocates. An abstraction of a Georgian form was used to reduce streetscape bulk and create a more sensitive response to the context.
The masterplanning approach was to maximise the open space opportunity and to establish a strong street presence and create a new entry to the school. The school buildings on site previously partitioned the site into two outdoor spaces which was resultant in management issues for staff, and didn’t allow the local parish to gather outside for large events.
The reconfiguration of the site was achieved by reorienting the school, and creating a compact two-storey footprint with small landscaped courtyard spaces that allows students to flow out into the large open playground area with a central tiered stage for gatherings.
The classroom planning is a reflection of the pedagogical direction that educators are now taking to provide flexible, multi-modal learning spaces that facilitate collaborative learning and teaching, and the sharing of resources, in the digital age. The planning allows the learning settings to be tailored to the individual learning needs of each age specific group.
A budget of only AUD$6.5m meant that one existing building had to be retained as part of the development. To create a unified architecture, the original white brick building has been enveloped by a new external ‘skin’ and re-roofed.
The completion of the project in March 2009 has resulted in a very happy school and parish along with positive feedback from the wider community and local council.