It's not for boys...

Bill Dowzer
25 Feb 2010

BVN Architecture's designs for a new all-girl school in Sydney

The design of the Ravenswood School for Girls Resources Hub was developed through the School’s masterplanning process undertaken by BVN, and is designed to create an attractive, imaginative and stimulating environment in which learning is inevitable.

The Resources Hub is designed to be in scale with the school’s existing built environment and be seen as a modern insertion into the campus of varied buildings. A new main entry to Henry Street aids site security as the current entries do not allow ease of monitoring school visitors. The entry courtyard at the heart of the proposal provides a new external space for the school community which is partially covered, providing maximum usability in all conditions. Administration and the new Junior and Senior libraries address the courtyard along with the café that links the courtyard to the oval. The lower levels are designed to provide a solid base to the building, reminiscent of the masonry materials used in the upper campus. The upper levels are designed in steel with a translucent cladding and significant cantilevers, providing weather protection and covered outdoor areas.

The building aims to bring together both passive and active design solutions to sustainability and allow the initiatives to be integrated into the education program. The building has been designed as a mixed mode building that is able to operate completely with natural ventilation and conversely can be air conditioned when required. In order to achieve this, the area of glass façades exposed to direct sunlight has been reduced, which in effect reduces the building heat loadings.

Landscape is pivotal to the new development through the creation of naturally protected outdoor spaces that are both integrated with the buildings and unified with the current site landscape. External teaching spaces have been designed and a new knowledge garden is proposed directly off the lower classrooms, linking to the existing gym. The scheme provides much needed vertical and horizontal connectivity for the school, and unifies both landscape and environmentally sustainable design principles. The facilities provide a best practice environment, echoing the school’s philosophy of flexibility and an individual approach to teaching and learning.

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