Facilitating a flexible education

07 Mar 2011

Pentarchi + Phorm completes new adaptable hall for the Steiner School near Brisbane

The SVSS Multipurpose Hall was constructed as part of the Australian Government's Building Education Revolution stimulus funds. The hall was constructed using recycled timber salvaged from a vandalised nearby tourist attraction 'The Australian Woolshed'. The idea for a Multipurpose Hall brought the icon to life through the reuse of the 12-metre hardwood trusses, continuing the spirit of the timbers to witness another life if its own.

The Hall is scribed into the Samford Valley landscape, sited amongst existing gum trees, taking advantage of the gentle slope with the ridge line orientated towards Camp Mountain in the distance. The new structure provides an indoor and outdoor focus through the program, creating a pivotal point in between the denser 'lower school', and the recently established 'high school' buildings on other side of the campus. The school's master plan is thus unified by a meandering pedestrian spine that leads from both sides to the Hall anchoring the stage by spooning in front of the natural grassy amphitheatre.

With a removable performance stage, the hall was conceived as a flexible space allowing numerous possibilities of configurations to work on different scales. Firstly, as an internalised space used for individual 'eurhythmy' class and small group lessons. Secondly, for gathering complete school assemblies and 'formal school ceremonies' where the indoor and / or outdoor stage areas can be implemented. Thirdly, the space can be opened towards the landscape where a covered stage becomes part of the grassed amphitheatre scribed into the landscape for much larger outdoor performances. Finally the hall also allows for orientation towards the school playing fields for use at other school festivals where the local community can enjoy a bush dance, and the school fair and markets.

The adaptability and simplicity of the services in both equipment and natural ventilation affirms the low-cost, multipurpose stature of the hall. The potential of the Hall's uses and value is paramount in affirming the Steiner Schools principles of learning, giving the students a plethora of stages to demonstrate their talents.

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