New directions

26 Feb 2010

Award winning new primary school in Melbourne is a model of things to come

Having won numerous architectural, educational and environmental awards, this project has been recognised as a model for future Primary school education architecture. Located at the edge of the northern metropolitan growth corridor of Melbourne, this new P-6 public Primary school has been developed on a greenfield site, as part of a new residential estate subdivision.

During preliminary briefing it became evident to the planning committee that the modes of educational delivery represented by these more traditional spaces was becoming increasingly irrelevant and required complete re-evaluation to ensure the new school was planned to accommodate emerging directions in educational delivery, whilst achieving enhanced student learning outcomes and staff engagement.The new school has been master planned as an inclusive community of flexible spaces oriented and designed to maximise visual outlook and physical connections. The relationship between the buildings and site was established by the creation of a series of formal and informal recreation, gathering and activity spaces linked by walkways, providing both all-weather shelter and a sense of place. Studio spaces are organised along a shared collaborative space and grouped around a central external courtyard. This arrangement ensures each of the key learning spaces is provided with opportunities to establish a variety of collaborative relationships across adjoining facilities. The studios provide an open and transparent home base for students with multiple opportunities for flexible furnishing layouts and smaller group learning settings, quiet study zones, resources areas and display spaces arranged between library and IT rich hubs. A distribution of more traditional art entitlement resulted in each neighbourhood being provided with two separate creative investigative spaces.

Connection through to sheltered external breakout areas and broader activity spaces is provided from all studio and activity spaces. This ensures the neighbourhood is connected to the external environment areas and results in spaces with high levels of permeability and transparency.In addition to a broad use of building materials with sound environmental properties, key initiatives were implemented in the project. These included the collection of all rainwater from extensive roof areas of both neighbourhood buildings, sufficient to provide for flushing of all student toilets on site. The development of a night purge ventilation system with integrated low and high level louvres was incorporated, acting in conjunction with a roof mounted weather station. Other ESD initiatives included high performance glazing to windows along north, east and western facades, low energy light fittings, perimeter day lighting controls, high levels of natural daylight within for all occupants ensuring glare is controlled, automated daylight and black-out blinds to high level glazing in shared collaborative spaces, PV Cells and extensive water harvesting.

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