Primary school for The International Grammar School wins major industry award
Allen Jack+Cottier’s recently-completed primary school building for The International Grammar School Sydney in Ultimo, Sydney, has won the Commercial Energy Efficiency Category at the Viridian Vision Awards for use of glass in construction.
Announcing the award at the AIA Nationl Conference in Melbourne on Friday, the judges commented that: "The International Grammar School’s newest addition has a stimulating design language that invites multiple interpretations and experience that breaks from the idea of windows as left-over holes in the wall. Windows as portals that offer an alternative view of the world are a central feature of building designed with, and for, creativity" (Peter Hyatt, Vision Awards Judge).
The recognisable form, colour and scale of the building was a direct response to the formidable collection of large brick warehouse buildings which give Ultimo its distinctive character. Allen Jack+Cottier exploited the plasticity, durability and transparency of glass in its scheme, using large, playful amoeba-like openings all over the 4-storey school’s external walls to lighten the facades, and provide multiple perspectives.
“This brings a fantasy life to the building, making a statement about the fun and adventure that should be a part of every learning environment”, said AJ+C Principal and Design Architect, Michael Heenan. “It also helped us to create a building with the maximum levels of energy efficiency.”
The thermodynamic analysis led to a cruciform system of natural ventilation which can be altered to react to the prevailing winds. The windows use the latest e-glass. Photovoltaics will supply power, and all water is collected and reused. All wall and floor panels were fabricated off site, which delivered not only speed of construction but also an exceptional level of quality.
The building represents the second generation of ideas developed initially for the Berry Sports Hall, which won the best sports building in the World Architecture Festival in November 2009. Facilities include an undercover playground on the ground floor, a library, staff offices and an indoor multipurpose hall. The roof was designed to become an outdoor playground shaded by an array of photovoltaic cells.