Transparency and collaboration drive the design for an innovative new learning centre.
Located in the heart of the Huon Valley, Tasmania, the design for the Josephite Learning Centre at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Geeveston prides itself on the transformation from a historical yet dilapidated Convent, into a 21st Century educational facility. Since its opening in June of 2010, the facility has become a showcase for exemplar teaching and learning practices, providing a completely open plan senior learning facility for 50 Year 5/6 students, co-located with a Library / Resource Centre.
Cruciform in plan and responding to the religious nature of the surrounding buildings, the Josephite Learning Centre sits as a beacon on the site. Together with a ceremonial entry courtyard adjacent, the project unites the disparate surrounding buildings and provides an exciting outdoor learning environment for the children. The plan departs significantly from the traditional school design; instead bearing greater resemblance to a modern open plan 'living room' where one space bleeds into another. In contrast to the once cellular and internalised classrooms, every corner of the building engages with the outdoors, enjoying views of the Huon Valley and the sustainable benefits of the natural day-lighting.
With the implementation of sensible sustainable practices, the facility has endured the Tasmanian winter without the use of mechanical heating devices and also employs minimal use artificial lighting. The uniqueness of the space can best be described as the facility with 'no doors'. Transparent, flexible multi-zoned spaces are provided with areas for quiet withdrawal, mass congregation and wet and messy work. Students can also simultaneously engage in different modalities of learning in an environment where colour and technology abound.