H2o Architects delivers a high-quality college building at Point Cook within a low budget project
Point Cook Senior Secondary College is located within a rapidly growing residential precinct southwest of Melbourne, Australia. The masterplan concept was to create a series of single storey buildings in a ‘Circle of Wagons’ around a central campus courtyard protected from the ever-present windy conditions.
The individual ‘wagons’ are developed in two typologies:
Learning Neighbourhoods – ‘Home bases’ assembled of general purpose classrooms that supply each student with familiar learning areas with support services such as toilet facilities, lockers, and access to localised staff workspaces. The learning communities are ‘vertically integrated’, combining all year groups within one neighbourhood.
Specialty Hubs – Dedicated special-use buildings are dispersed around the learning neighbourhoods in strategic positions to develop opportunistic relationships within the site. Stage two consists of two specialty hubs for the developing school, known as R&D (Research & Development) and the MP (Multipurpose) Building. The Learning Resource Centre is positioned at the heart of the school as a symbolic and functional gesture.
The ‘gateway’ MP Building forms the catalyst for engagement with the wider community via an unexpected positioning of the eye-catching two storey height volume of the gymnasium at the front entrance. The gymnasium and administration area flank a central foyer providing a prominent location for student work display.
The design engages new educational pedagogies with incorporation of flexible teaching and study spaces focusing on the support of a sophisticated individual pathway learning model akin to tertiary institutions. Interior spaces are strategically open and permeable to support a dynamic education process. Deep floor plans are provided with natural light and ventilation through visually iconic angular rooflights, adding identity and character to buildings of deliberately modest scale.
Innovative utilisation of materials was an essential concept to deliver a high-quality building within the low project budget. The design incorporates passive and low-tech intelligent systems to provide a robust, but effective environmentally sustainable solution, such as large roof overhangs, natural daylighting, and rainwater harvesting.