2014 CEFPI Awards recognise the best in educational design and construction 

Education Today is delighted once again to present the winners of the 2014 CEFPI Awards. The winners were chosen from 71 submissions from across the region. In total 18 awards and commendations were presented in five categories.

The awards were presented at the Annual CEFPI Conference, held this year at the new Adelaide Oval.

To view all winners and commendations go to: Awards/Winners & Submissions

http://cefpi.org.au/awards/2014-awards/2014-award-winners-and-commendations/

Category 1

New construction: entire new school

Award

Joint winner

Project

Branksome Hall Asia, Jeju Global Education City, Korea

Architect

MKPL Architects in collaboration with Samoo Architects and Engineers

Project overview

This project is about envisioning an integrated living-learning campus which is innovative yet respectful of the culture and character of the site. The campus is seen as ‘Sculptures in the Landscape’, an inspirational ‘landscape for learning’, reflecting the ethos and heritage of Branksome Hall with a strong sense of place.

The design for Branksome Hall Asia campus encapsulated Branksome Hall’s educational philosophy and vision for an institution that was provocative, created harmony and contributed to both national and international educational thinking.

The campus is envisioned as ‘A Landscape for Learning’, an environment which reflects integration of buildings with landscape – a unique composition of distinctive (and nature-inspired) forms inter-connected by ‘fluid’ circulation pathways set in lush native landscape. The campus has a rich blend of building functions, seamlessly linking living-learning spaces to encourage encounters, connection and communication. It consists of intimate ‘instructional neighbourhoods’ (with multifunctionality of facility) in a green setting which encourages curiosity, nurtures creativity and celebrates the diversity of its students.

The campus flows. There are no jams for human traffic, light, air or sound. It provides space and flexibility so that the school is future proofed in terms of adapting spaces, technologies and learning methods. The flexibility of the masterplan enabled the construction to be phased. One Learning Pod, the Early Childhood Centre and a Student Residence (Boarding House) were not constructed initially. These can be included when required. The ability to phase the construction provides the school with the opportunity to adapt and change the campus and adds another dimension to future proofing the school.

The challenge of achieving the aesthetics of sculpture and the functionality in a school that was to use new curriculum, new ways of learning and lead a nation to empower women were successfully met through the design’s sensitivity to and focus on relationships. The architect had the intuition and reflective practice to interact with students, teachers, leaders and the local community to get a sense of how to honour culture but to also augment future thinking. The facility design is smart, flexible and unpretentious. We believe the design reflects innovation in teaching and learning - enhancing education, supporting admissions and sets Branksome Hall Asia apart as Asia’s most advanced school.

Jury citation

This World Heritage Greenfield site project has successfully created a state of the art learning environment that takes its design queues from the surrounding landscape.

The architects describe the forms as ‘Sculptures in the Landscape’ and have designed a series of architecturally distinctive Learning Pods and Learning Centres interconnected by meandering paths within the ‘Living Forrest’ or campus green.

The design cleverly makes connections at different levels (physical and social/inside and outside), blurring the boundaries between circulation and programmed spaces, and has achieved a climate responsive, ecologically sensitive design which includes both a heat recovery and rainwater collection system as a core element of their sustainability initiatives.

 

CATEGORY 1

Category 1

New construction: entire new school

Award

Joint winner

Project

Sustainable Industries Education Centre, Tonsley TAFE, South Australia

Architect

New Learning Environments/Rubida Research in collaboration with MPH Architects

Project overview

Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC) is the most innovative and advanced of its kind in Australia. It provides world-class, energy efficient, trade training infrastructure for TAFE SA and partners. Building construction and renewable energy trades collaborate under one roof so students can learn and work together as they would in the industry.

The SIEC is a key component of the Tonsley Park development that provides the facilities, infrastructure, and opportunities for creative collaboration between industry, research and education, within an environment conducive to clustering of manufacturing and technology-based firms.

A tripartite educational model brings together TAFE SA, Flinders University, industry partners and private training providers, which broadens and diversifies student pathways and creates opportunities for innovative enterprise.

The design process was highly collaborative, with New Learning Environments and Rubida Research drawing on the expertise of a selected group of highly motivated, forward thinking TAFE lecturers as well as the involvement of the SIEC Advisory Board that included representatives from associated industry and employment specialists, universities, Department of Further Education, Employment Science and Technology (DFEEST) and TAFE SA.

The creation of an innovative ‘green’ workforce requires a new approach to education and training – an approach that looks beyond the traditional vocational silos and modes of delivery and focuses on:

  • Inter-disciplinary collaboration
  • VET/University cooperation
  • Active industry participation and engagement
  • The extensive use of e-learning
  • The creation of educational/employment programs and pathways within the sustainable industry sector.

The main design responses to these objectives were:

  • welcoming and engaging first experiences in entries, teaching and learning spaces, staff, administration, support aces and workshops
  • Use MIT’s ‘conceive, design, implement, operate’ in a process-based learning approach
  • Multi-purpose workshop space allows multiple trades to work together in a manner that reflects an actual building site
  • Internal glazing to allow visual connections that encourage trans-disciplinarity
  • Increased informal learning space with a range of learning settings and support spaces for self-directed learning and cial interaction.

A core objective of the SIEC was to be an exemplar sustainable facility and gain efficiencies in operational and recurrent costs. 90% of existing structure (the Mitsubishi Automotive Building –  MAB) has been maintained with clear identification of ‘old’ and ‘new’ through paint treatments. The preservation of the industrial character of the existing MAB was critical, with minimal applied finishes and the raw character enhanced through the expression of services and structural elements for demonstrator purposes.

Jury citation

The new facility for Tonsley TAFE in South Australia is an excellent example of adaptive re-use on a major scale.

90% of the existing structure has been retained and a new flexible and adaptable education facility created that provides opportunities for innovation and display of the various TAFE student activities, and the quality of the facility has provided the platform for the forging of strong links with industry.

The resulting internal layout successfully provides a variety of spaces for student centered learning and the effective use of glazed partitioning throughout has maximized the visual and physical connections to the existing steel structure as well as ensuring daylighting opportunities are realized in all settings.

Category 1

New construction: entire new school

Commendation

Project

Mother Teresa Catholic School Master Plan and Stage 1, Western Australia

Architect

Parry & Rosenthal Architects

Project overview

Stage 1 of a new Catholic primary school including classrooms for Kindergarten to Year 2 with administration, library, canteen, multipurpose rooms, covered area, hard court, service, drop-off and parking and associated landscape works.

Following a limited design competition for the new Baldivis Catholic School and Parish Site Master Plan, which included a primary school, church and parish facilities, and secondary school, Parry & Rosenthal Architects were commissioned to implement Stage 1.

The green field site, previously for agricultural use is located in Baldivis, 50 km south of Perth and is currently undergoing rapid development and population growth.

The brief for Mother Teresa Catholic School – Stage 1 was to create a building that had a strong presence in the developing suburb, to serve the church and wider community, and to be a 21st century teaching and learning centre.

Facilities include learning areas for early childhood from Kindergarten to Year 2, a covered area (also used by the local Catholic Parish for church services and events), multipurpose area, temporary library and administration.

The design of Stage 1 was required to allow for the future expansion into a full two-stream primary school. To achieve this, Parry and Rosenthal Architects undertook a detailed master plan of the long-term primary school. The campus was designed around a central Community Court, as the heart of the School, with facilities and other outdoor learning and play spaces around its edges. Stage 1 borders the southern portion of the future Community Court and is self contained and complete until the future expansion of the School occurs.

The building consists of three learning ‘wings’ connected to a central hub (covered area). The ‘wings’ are a series of rammed earth learning areas, linked by light-weight structures (the shared facilities). The taller central hub anchors the ‘wings’ and creates an open, airy and light area for the Early Childhood students and all users to come together.

All learning areas have visual and physical access to external shared courtyards as well as access to separate age specific areas. Internal learning spaces are large and open with smaller ‘learning pods’ that provide more intimate spaces for quiet reflection, interaction of small groups. The school was completed and opened for 2014 school year.

Jury citation

A sophisticated design response that successfully fulfils the client brief to create a new school that had a strong dynamic presence in a developing suburb and be a 21st century teaching and learning centre.

The jurors were impressed with the site masterplan, the elegant architectural detailing and limited materials palette, which have created a timeless and robust aesthetic.

Learning areas all have a connection to the well-designed courtyard spaces and internally to a variety of smaller learning pods that maximise the opportunities for flexibility in teaching and learning.

Category 1

New construction: entire new school

Commendation

Project

Horsham Special Development School, Victoria

Architect

Kneeler Design Architects

Project overview

The focus of the project is to enhance students’ independence and celebrate their diverse abilities. Establishment of Home Eco Facility adjacent to open café and sensory garden enables the school to invite the wider community in for functions. Central sensory courtyard provides a beautiful and safe environment for social interaction.

For a special school, it is important for the students’ safety that their access is controlled. However, we feel that the conventional access control via layers of fences and gates hinders students’ feeling of independence. Our solution is to wrap the building around a large central courtyard, allowing students to access it without the danger of exiting the site. There are no hidden corners in the courtyard, the teaching spaces surrounding the courtyard provides constant but discreet supervision.

The school focuses on delivering individualised education to students aged five to 18, with a wide variety of disabilities. This building is designed with a variety of active and passive learning and play spaces, indoors and out, to support the teachers in delivering such individualised and diverse curriculum.

Tactile and visual features, such as the translucency of polycarbonate cladding, roughness of the earth wall, smoothness of the curved plasterboard wall, softness of the artificial grass floor, playfulness of the colour balls of light hung at different heights, rhythm of the stud work within the polycarbonate wall, subtle grey silhouettes of birds and flowers etched on windows, spark student’s imaginations.

Colours provide subtle cues to help students identify and orientate around the campus. At the entry, green carpet square patterns lead to the Classroom Wing, while orange carpet squares lead to the Multipurpose Room, bypassing staff and administration areas. Upon entering the Classroom Wing, the artificial grass circle in the café is inviting to sit on, while highlighting the presence of a post to discourage accidental collision. In that space, the eye is very quickly drawn to the brightly coloured canopies over the Home Eco facility, lovingly named ‘the Master-Chef Kitchen’ by the school. The bright colours of the range hood canopy help the occupants identify each workbench.

As we proceed towards the classrooms, a different colour strip of carpet protruding from under the doors gives each its unique colour-code.

Jury citation

A beautiful design that successfully delivers individualised education to students aged from five to 18, with a wide variety of disabilities.

The clever use of a varied material palette, the maximizing of opportunities for natural light and the thoughtful use of colour all add to the vibrancy of the internal spaces.

The external forms are a mature response to the brief of creating a world class 21st century education facility for special needs students.

Category 2

New construction: new construction major facility

Award

Project

James Cook University Education Central, Queensland

Architect 

Wilson Architects with Architects North

Project overview

Education Central is the new front door to the university. It follows a student-led/staff-assisted model of service that was developed specifically for JCU. Based on the latest retail service models, students have a choice of service points and access to interview rooms and pods, and flexible furniture. 

JCU identified a need to upgrade its Townsville Campus to improve student services and to support contemporary methods of teaching and learning. In so doing, it had the opportunity to create an environment that better reflected JCU’s tropical identity, and to build a stronger sense of community among the staff and students. The first step was a comprehensive research program including staff and student interviews, and area/use studies of the whole campus. The research covered all areas of the student experience. These insights became the basis of a plan to revitalise the campus with JCU Education Central at its heart.

Housing both Student Services and the School of Education, Education Central is the new front door to the university. Student services functions follow a student-led/staff-assisted model of service that was developed specifically for JCU. Based on the latest retail service models, students have a choice of service points (from self-service to fully assisted), access to interview rooms and pods, and flexible furniture.

The new spaces encourage staff away from traditional ‘stand and deliver’ ‘master teacher’ delivery modes inviting them, instead to: harness the power of collaborative learning where students actively engage and interact in the learning process rather than listen (or not) to talking heads; explore the promise of peer-to-peer learning in technologically supported spaces; allow for individual reflective learning in quiet in-door and out-door spaces, and so on. Where previously students left the university once they had finished class, Education Central has exceeded our expectations in creating a ‘sticky campus’ where communities of students more readily cohere and augment their opportunities to learn.

In its particular configuration of space, Education Central provides opportunities to teach more efficiently, particularly in the technology-enhance active learning spaces. Thus, networked and connected learning, hallmarks of next generation learning paradigms, have been coupled with longer-term budgetary savings.

Jury citation

JCU Education Central is intended to improve student services and to incorporate contemporary methods of learning and teaching. The facility includes large-scale active learning spaces that support technology enabled active learning. (TEAL) Learning spaces are spacious, well appointed and flexible.

The overarching strategy was to locate teacher training to the ‘front and centre’ of campus and Education Central is well connected to other services by covered linkages. In a campus as large and diverse as JCU it was important to ensure that legibility of travel was a key design element.

The project started with comprehensive research and visitations to other campuses and collaboration with the JCU community. This was followed by robust briefing workshops resulting in a briefing template that served the final design process well.

Education central embraces a sustainable approach to facility design and provides students with a 21st century learning facility.

The jury was unanimous in selecting this project as the winner of the CEFPI Award in Category 2 for New Major Facilities. Full credit goes to all those persons involved in the planning, design and delivery processes.

The judges applaud the recognition by the proponents of this project of the critical importance of changing the way teachers are trained and bring the profession into a 21st century context and all that entails.

Category 2

New construction major facility

Commendation

Project

Mirboo North Secondary College: New Multi-disciplinary Learning Centre, Victoria

Architect

Haskell Architects

Project overview

The Multi-Disciplinary Learning Centre is a modern, integrated facility that provides students with access to a comprehensive curriculum that includes:

• LOTE and Humanities

• Science

• Food technology

• Information technology

• Art (2D and 3D)

• Music (learning and recording)

• Technology (metal and wood)

• Learning commons

• Outdoor learning.

The existing ad-hoc development of the campus over a number of years had left the school without a focal point, making it difficult to navigate. This project provided an opportunity to re-order the site and create a campus ‘heart’ linking the existing buildings with the new facility. Known as the ‘Agora’ the external square is the main orientation point for the campus and a gathering space for students.

A key decision for the project was to co-locate all of the specialised learning environments within one building in order to:

• Encourage shared learning experiences across different environments

• Provide a significant shared space centrally located between the more specific settings

• Maximise the available land and minimise building envelope costs

• Maximise the scale of the building to give prominence within the community and support the development of the school spirit.

A variety of spaces and volumes are provided which support various learning settings, including direct instruction of large groups, small project group work through to small areas for one or two students to study quietly. Emphasis is on flexibility of these spaces, which can be adapted in size easily with the use of operable walls, sliding doors and overhead sectional doors.

The interior environment supports the health, wellbeing and inspiration of students and teachers with abundant natural light throughout, well-ventilated spaces, a substantial gallery style wall, and expansive views of the Strzelecki Rages.

The desire to provide strong and direct connections to outdoor learning areas presented a challenge, given the steeply sloping site and the ever-present Gippsland rain. Large fire station doors lead out to generous terraces from all classrooms and are protected from the rain with an extended roof that cantilevers over.

The success of the Multi-disciplinary Learning Centre has come from a strong collaboration between the consultant team and the school community. 

Jury citation

Mirboo North Secondary College is located in the heart of Gippsland, Victoria, on a sloping site with expansive views of the Strzelecki Ranges. The challenge of this project was to produce a new multi-disciplinary facility that supported the school’s desire to deliver 21st century teaching and learning across a broad curriculum while providing a new focus for the whole campus. This outstanding project won the attention of the jurors for its compliance with an expansive brief, limited budget and for the evidence clearly presented that it exceeded the expectations of the school and community in respect to the teaching and learning opportunities the new facility has presented Mirboo College.

Category 2

New construction major facility

Commendation

Project

St Francis Xavier College Design, Arts, Technology and Science (DATS) Building, Victoria

Architect

Hayball

Project overview

St Francis Xavier College serves the educational needs of approximately 2400 students in Years 7–12. Our growth in demand for places is coming from the rapidly developing areas of Officer and Pakenham. It is here that we are building a Year 7–9 Campus in order to provide facilities to deliver a robust curriculum.

The establishment of St Francis Xavier College’s Officer Campus marks a new chapter in the proud 37-year tradition of quality Catholic education for Melbourne’s burgeoning south-east corridor. The new campus features state of the art facilities, which are integrated in strikingly modern buildings. The (DATS) constitutes a progressive model for Junior secondary school teaching and learning, which is the result of a rigorous collaboration with the School.

The DATS Building is a contemporary model for specialist education. It merges spaces for Science, Arts and Material Technology to promote inter-disciplinary, research and project based learning. Formal practical spaces of workshop, laboratory and art studio are visually and physical connected to collaborative spaces for design, theory and write up, presentation and exhibition.

Extensive internal glazing and large opening encourages flow between practical and collaborative spaces.

Jury citation

The new St Francis Xavier Secondary College was conceived to provide Catholic education to new developing communities on the outer east of Melbourne and is co-located with a future primary school and integrated Early Learning Centre and Community Space incorporating a new chapel centrally located on the site.

Over a period of 15 months Hayball worked with the school planning group, teachers and the community in reviewing the master plan, evaluating the existing facilities and their relationship to the new DATS building, conducting research and school visits, and ensuring that the school assessed their teaching and learning methodologies in relation to the intended facilities.

The DATS building provides facilities for specialist education merging spaces for Science, Arts and Material Technology to promote inter-disciplinary research and project based learning.

Formal practical spaces are connected by collaborative learning areas for design, theory, presentation and exhibition, with communication technology provided throughout all areas of the building. Incorporation of a range of environmentally sustainable design elements have produced an energy efficient building which includes a monitoring system utilised by the students as a component of the school curriculum.

External covered and service areas are integral to the building ensuring connection between internal and external learning spaces while the roof design extends at key points to create welcome canopies to celebrate the school entry points and frame key views of the site.

The use of colour, natural materials and strong emphasis on building angles and design has provided the school with a remarkable range of stimulating education areas which have more than met the schools expectations and requirements.

Category 2

New construction major facility

Commendation

Project

St Peters College Sister Rosemary Graham RSM Building, Victoria

Architect

Hayball

Project overview

Driven by the school's desire to rethink their teaching and learning model, Hayball and the school critically reviewed exemplary school models, conducted a series of school visits to other similar schools and collaborated with the school leaders, teachers and community representatives in developing design responses which reflected the school requirements for Years 7 and 8.

The final design provided individual learning communities at each year level connected by a highly intensive ‘innovation hub’ comprising specialist facilities for cookery, art, design, drama and media studies incorporating outdoor workshop and performance areas which connect the classrooms with the external environment.

The Sister Rosemary Graham Building was positioned on the site to provide its own defined precinct connected to the remaining campus body and incorporating community links with the existing centrally located chapel and the intended future TAFE facility.

ESD was embedded with appropriate orientation, generous natural lighting, cross ventilation and wind lock features and zoned mechanical plant connected to a building management system.

The finished building completely met the schools expectations and vision to maximise the physical environment while allowing learning to flow in and out of the building and surrounding natural environment that the site provides. The result is an outcome specifically tuned to the requirements for educational provision of St Peters.

Jury citation

Driven by the school’s desire to rethink its teaching and learning model, Hayball and the school critically reviewed exemplary school models, conducted a series of school visits to other similar schools and collaborated with the school leaders, teachers and community representatives in developing design responses which reflected the school requirements for Years 7 and 8.

The final design provided individual learning communities at each year level connected by a highly intensive ‘innovation hub’ comprising specialist facilities for cookery,  art, design, drama and media studies incorporating outdoor workshop and performance areas which connect the classrooms with the external environment.

The Sister Rosemary Graham Building was positioned on the site to provide its own defined precinct connected to the remaining campus body and incorporating community links with the existing centrally located chapel and the intended future TAFE facility.

ESD was embedded with appropriate orientation, generous natural lighting, cross ventilation and wind lock features and zoned mechanical plant connected to a building management system.

The finished building completely met the schools expectations and vision to maximise the physical environment while allowing learning to flow in and out of the building and surrounding natural environment that the site provides. The result is an outcome specifically tuned to the requirements for educational provision of St Peters.

Category 3

Renovation over $2m

Award

Project

Griffith University (G11) Learning Commons, Queensland

Architect

ThomsonAdsett

Project overview

G11 prioritises student, staff and visitor needs providing experimental collaborative spaces, a learning ‘aviary’ landscape, shared meeting room, blended seminar rooms, study hall and sky lounge. Such spaces offer choice of learning environments internally and externally. A highly permeable design promotes a learning commons of environmental, social and cultural significance.

Griffith University’s new Learning Commons is underpinned by choice, experimentation and serendipity.

Socialisation of space and creation of a distinctive hub were key brief requirements. Our response triangulated the existing building, enhancing collaboration, maximising presence on University Drive, reducing travel and framing an inner garden. New and existing space becomes one, revitalising a tired existing asset, maximising residual value and promoting sustainable design practices. The use of the Griffith red addresses the requirement for cohesion to brand.

The 100 sq.m collaborative space requirement was surpassed with a 300 sq.m external feature space. This volume accommodates multiple functionalities in a highly prominent campus location such as markets, open days, enrolments, meetings, filming and serendipitous collaborations. The building is highly permeable in terms of planning and aesthetics to maximise outreach and engagement.

The design was ‘layered’ to address the social, reflective and support spaces required by the brief, with the formality and acoustic control increasing as you travel up through the building. Outdoor learning environments extend the 4500 sq.m internal space to 7000 sq.m, ensuring students benefit from breezes, variable learning settings, views, light and amenity.

Students now have a hub space – space to meet, share and study in person or collaboratively, internally and externally. The building promotes inter-professional learning. Increased collaboration, 24/7 use, collocation of staff, bookable spaces of multiple scales and assists the high demand for additional social space and quiet space.

The place making of the sky lounge, ‘aviary’ garden and shared spaces facilitate a diversity of learning modalities and choice of setting for different educational processes. The building provides spaces to foster relationships and is intentionally not faculty specific. It is inclusive and responsive to changing study patterns of the modern day student.

Agile planning of seminar rooms enables rooms to blend with adjacent covered external space such as the sky lounge creating bookable and inspiring lecture spaces. The study hall was created by combining the area allocated to a seminar room and lap top lounge. Art, colour, vibrant furnishings and ease of connectivity have combined to make this a successful 24/7 space.

Jury citation

The Griffith University Commons is designed to provide a variety of learning spaces to meet the various learning needs of students outside of the direct teaching areas. The Commons offers a range of spaces from highly sociable through to individualised, contemplative spaces. The building acknowledges the link between space design and learning in all its multiple variations and nuances.  The renovation has lifted a tired building into prominence as a highly desirable campus focus revitalising the library as a centre of learning and interaction and presenting exciting spaces such as the Sky Lounge and the Learning Aviary to support and engage students in their learning.

Category 3

Renovation over $2m

Commendation

Project 

Ingle Farm Children’s Centre, South Australia

Architect

Dept for Education and Child Development in association with Swanbury Penglase Architects

Project overview

The Ingle Farm Kindergarten relocated to the Ingle Farm Primary School. The new Ingle Farm Children’s Centre opened September 2013 and provides facilities for a 55-place preschool and 10-place occasional care program. The centre has separate areas for families and heath with consultation units and education programs.

The Farm Children’s Centre is a well-considered and detailed response to the brief developed for the project via the consultation workshops and embodying a commitment to Reggio Emilia educational design philosophy in its spaces and finishes selections, its external play areas, the interface between the external and internal spaces, while integrating community and health components in a meaningful and effective way.

Separate areas for ‘family and health’ consultation and education programs, and ‘community’ based activities including creche, are accessed from a central common public parent foyer and integrated into the centre facilitating information sharing that result from co-location of children’s services in a single facility.

The physical environment, both internal and external and the interface between the two, are critical elements within the Reggio Emilia philosophy and its application of early learning and childhood development. The internal contemporary structure of the former technical studies centre, provided the background for a concept design which delivered the visually engaging day-lit spaces to support the pedagogy. A large covered external space provided an interface to the well-developed play area, which utilised the natural typography to provide a diverse range of exciting and challenging play and learning areas. Careful consideration of acoustics, lighting and integration of services complimented the selection of practical finishes which give prominence to the children’s work and activities.

Jury citation

The Ingle Farm Kindergarten renovation has created a facility that is an impressively comprehensive reflection of the Emilio Reggio philosophy of early childhood learning. The building is light, open and seamlessly connected to its external environment, which is shaped into beautiful natural learning spaces. Ingle Farm is intensely child centred and a place where learning can occur both intentionally and serendipitously.

Category 4

Renovation/Modernisation under $2m

Award

Project

Little Saints Early Learning Centre, St. Andrews Anglican College, Queensland

Architect

Richard Kirk Architect

Project overview

Expansion to an existing day care centre that provides early learning programs and after school care at Saint Andrew’s Anglican College. The brief included refurbishment of the existing cot room and reception area, provision of two new general learning areas, a staff room, and outdoor areas for staff and students.

The refreshment and additions to the Centre augment the existing functions of the facility by offering two large general learning areas for flexible operation, outdoor learning spaces, staff rooms, and associated storage, breakout spaces and amenities. Keeping in step with the philosophy of the school, the centre engages children with an awareness of their natural environment, facilitates exploration and discovery and a quality of learning experience by offering a facility that is environmentally aware, highly flexible, and enjoyable to inhabit and engaged with its community.

Natural materials help offer a continuation with the outdoor setting, while ample natural light and ventilation provides a healthy environment that takes advantage of the benign climate of the Sunshine Coast, through the virtue of large, operable openings, mixed mode ventilation and high ceilings. Safety is assured by providing top quality facilities for staff, including teaching facilities, supervision windows and break out spaces. A flexible use of spaces paired with a modesty around internal colours and finishes means that students have the maximum opportunity for self discovery, creativity and exploration against the backdrop of the building.

Jury citation

A refreshing insertion on to the Little Saints Early Learning Centre campus that successfully integrates two large flexible general learning areas with excellent connections to the associated external break-out spaces.

It has satisfied the school’s core philosophy of engaging students with an awareness of their natural environment, through exploration and discovery.

The contemporary design is environmentally sensitive, highly flexible, enjoyable to inhabit and successfully engages with its community.

Category 4

Renovation/Modernisation under $2m

Commendation

Project

Claremont College Junior School Refurbishment, New South Wales

Architect

Sydney Anglican Schools Association and Terroir

Project overview

The refurbishment of 30 Coogee Bay Road building, comprising of a new hall fitout, reconfiguration of classrooms for 110 students all within an existing building that was first constructed in 1910. At its heart, the refurbishment is about maximising the potential of forgotten spaces. As a building fabric that began in 1910 that then grew with five additions starting in 1980 and completing in 2004, the potential of 30 Coogee Bay Road was untapped.

This began with an exercise of revealing the forgotten spaces consumed by poor circulation and the old cellular teaching techniques by understanding that each space and volume had teaching and therefore learning potential.

The classrooms were transformed from stuffy cellular boxes to light, bright and airy flexible spaces; the selection of the ‘right’ white was important to maximise the effectiveness of southern light and diffuse top light. The idea of the redundant hallway circulation space was reconceived as a connector of learning spaces – both in plan and section. The forgotten attic space was opened up to allow for the following key elements to be revealed; passive sustainable features through increase natural light penetration and ventilation across classrooms and up through the buildings three levels; creating a sense of wonder through volume; understanding that an active mind is an engaged mind.

The opening up of the volume of the building provided a unique opportunity to connect all spaces through the use of colour and firmly place the branding of the school in unison with its built environment. The section of the greens to the vaulted spaces was carefully considered in relation to drawing the lower heritage fabric of the building up into the new classroom level and aligning the schools colours with their built surroundings. Again the selection of the ‘right’ white throughout the scheme was considered with an understanding of the intensity of reflected light gained by the strong green element in the space. Throughout the day the spaces change in response to the amount of reflected light available. During the day a fresh clean feeling is experienced, which is important for a child’s learning capacity, with the evening bringing on a more lustrous effect as the artificial lighting takes over.

Jury citation

The clever transformation of a heritage building that has ‘revealed the forgotten spaces consumed by poor circulation and cellular teaching techniques’ and created a variety of flexible teaching spaces infused with natural light.

The use of accent colour in key areas adds the ‘pop of colour’ as a counter to the generally white walls throughout.

Form and detailing have been very well handled with a series of architectural surprises such as the storage wall to the staircase and the Lego wall that adds a touch of fun expected in a project of this nature.

Category 4

Renovation/Modernisation under $2m

Commendation

Project

Glenallen School Primary Play Space, Victoria

Landscape Architect

Jeavons Landscape Architects

Project overview

A multi-sensory outdoor play, learning and therapeutic space for children with complex severe and multiple disabilities in a specialist primary school setting.

This landscape architectural project encompasses the design of a complex, accessible, inclusive outdoor play and leaning space at Glenallen School at Glen Waverley. The school serves students with physical disability and health impairments sometimes requiring paramedical support.

The brief required Jeavons Landscape Architects to prepare a highly detailed landscape design and close collaboration with specialist teachers and therapists, as well as students.

The completed outdoor play space is a fully integrated outdoors environment designed to:

  • Stimulate children’s play (and in particular social interaction, imaginative/role play)
  • Provide a diverse choice of free play activities to children (some of whom have complex, severe and multiple disabilities)
  • Provide a setting where therapy can be playful and willingly undertaken
  • Provide motivation for movement and gaining new skills
  • Create fun and enjoyment in an aesthetically pleasing setting with trees, art works and natural elements
  • Create a highly tactile sensory environment for sensory integration programs
  • Provide a gathering performance space for group learning and social activities.

Site levels that have been used to advantage and carefully incorporated into the design to create wheelchair accessible elevated terrain for overlooking, climbing and sliding. The ground level terrain has both flat and undulating sections.

Art works are an integral part of the design. Musical instruments by Herbert Jercher provide opportunities for engagement with sound for even the least able children. The ceramic and other art works by James Cattell (Honeyweather and Speight) provide special details with purpose, such as the ‘assisted walking pod’ where highly detailed ‘space people’ decorate a supported area to encourage and motivate children to learn to move independently.

Jeavons Landscape Architects selected a wide range of materials to maximise the sensory interest and tactile values of the space without sensory overload. This requires a fine balance. Natural materials, native/indigenous planting with low water requirements and a robust setting to minimise maintenance are balanced with some highlights of colour and strong textures to stimulate children with high sensory thresholds.

Jury citation

The jurors were impressed at the way the landscape architects have created a highly tactile sensory environment for students with physical disability and health impairments.

The result is a wonderful outdoor learning environment that stimulates and encourages the childrens’ play and social interaction in an aesthetically pleasing and safe setting.

The clever integration of artworks and musical instruments built into the landscape provide another layer of interest and engagement for the students.

The varied material palette especially on the ground plain adds to the sensory interest and tactile values of the space.

Category 5

Innovation

Award

Project

Bentleigh Secondary College, Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre, Victoria

Architect

dwp/suters

Project overview

The Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre (M&ICC) at Bentleigh Secondary College was conceived to fill three primary roles: to educate students about sustainable design and construction; provide a space for the school’s mindfulness meditation program and to act as a focus for the school’s indigenous cultural curriculum. The design concept reflects the contrasting nature of our inner and outer self through materiality and form.

Working in partnership with Bentleigh Secondary College and the local community, dwp|suters has delivered an exemplar of a sustainable, community focused, educational design. The M&ICC  represents the school’s desire to create a sustainable campus and change the behaviours of students, staff and the wider community in best practice environmental management.

The entire building, internally and externally, provides locations for education to take place. Its flexible design responds to the College’s educational needs, providing a main program space, a small kitchenette, storeroom and a series of external covered decks and stairs for external activities.

To reflect the mindfulness meditation function of the pavilion the design creates a warm uniform space that has a calming effect on the children using the space for meditation. The design concept reflects the contrasting nature of our inner and outer self through materiality and form. Choosing materials that reflect these concepts is a key part of the success of the design that creates a calm, simple home for mindfulness meditation.

The project educates students about the importance of sustainable design. Constructed entirely of timber the centre incorporates passive heating and cooling design, carbon sequestration design, a wind turbine to provide power and a future geothermal exchange unit for heating and cooling.

Set in the school’s forest landscape, the building acts as a piece of furniture – something to be sat in, on and around – while the students engage with the natural surrounds and the sustainable indigenous school curriculum.

The M&ICC is dwp|suters latest collaboration with the school. This project emerged from the spirit of earlier work together but it is unfunded. Over the past five years dwp|suters has worked in partnership with the College to design stages 1 and 2 of the school’s redevelopment.

This project is an example of what can be achieved when seamless collaboration for a common goal is the primary focus. The outcome is an interactive educational environment that transcends a facility just for teaching and learning. The seamless integration of space, materials, technology and physical form with the environment facilitates an interactive student experience where ultimately the facility becomes the educator. A fantastic example of when architecture and education truly work together.

Jury citation

Bentleigh’s Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre is commended for its innovation and conceptual veracity in delivering on  its three goals of sustainable design,  a space for mindfulness meditation  and a space to focus on  indigenous cultural curriculum. This is a beautifully executed design that is exceptional in its simplicity and harmony.

Category 5

Innovation

Commendation

Project

Doveton College, Victoria

Architect

Brand Architects

Project overview

Doveton College is a unique educational and social initiative that aims to transform an entire community by breaking the generational cycle of social disengagement. The college offers an educational program from birth to year nine, and provides a “one stop shop” for community services under a single management model.

Doveton College is an Australian first in the provision of fully integrated community services. The college offers an educational program from birth to Year 9, and a full suite of community services including childcare, maternal health, paediatric and speech therapy services, family and financial counselling and parental coaching, all on the one site. External organisations such as Centrelink, Medicare Local and Victoria Police also visit the college which aims to be a ‘one stop shop’ capable of dealing with any issue that arises in its community.

The underpinning strategy is to nurture and develop the child while addressing wider social issues that affect the child’s family. This is best accomplished under the single site, single management model approach as it allows the college to directly monitor each child and their family through constant engagement. The building design contributes to this by configuring the key engagement spaces directly adjacent to where most families will enter the site, maximising opportunities to target families for intervention. Shared community spaces are distributed around the complex. In making these spaces available, the college aims to become the social centre of the community, further enhancing its position in the community.

Education practice is based on individual learning plans and maximising student engagement. Much of the curriculum is enquiry based and students are encouraged to develop their verbal and interpersonal skills via a range of highly innovative educational programs such as DovetonTV and Doveton Live Minecraft.

Developing the Doveton initiative has required the sustained commitment of all stakeholders. The college has worked with the City of Casey, DEECD, other community support services and governmental bodies. While service ‘integration’ is a bit of a buzz word in community services, and there are other ‘co-located’ facilities around, to actually get the financial model right and to get all of these organisations to adapt or change their management or delivery practices to work together in a single governance and delivery model has been no mean feat.

The overall result is a dynamic hub of learning activity that has brought renewed confidence to a community in crisis.

Jury citation

Doveton College is impressive for the level of integration of educational and community services achieved for the birth to Year 9 children and a wide range of  community services and activities. This is a school that has created an identity as a whole of community centre and is achieving high levels of engagement and participation. The design of the school projects a sense of urban village while staying true to being child centred, an exciting manifestation of innovation in a challenging environment.

Category 5

Innovation

Commendation

Project

Galilee Catholic School, Stage 3, South Australia

Architect

Russell & Yelland Architects

Project overview

This project comprises four learning spaces plus a common shared space for upper primary students as further development of the Galilee Catholic School at Aldinga Beach, an outer southern suburb of Adelaide. The school, which commenced in 2007, is based on the Reggio Emilia approach to education.

Stage 3 of Galilee School comprises four learning spaces and a common shared space plus teacher and student amenities for senior primary students and is based on the Reggio Emilia approach to education. Due to budget restrictions, creating a shared space large enough to be purposeful was a challenge. A large all-weather outdoor space was designed to connect and be visible from the indoor space. The design provided a sense of space, allowing room for large groups and effective social interactions to facilitate community and belonging, which are part of the Reggio philosophy.

Design discussions centred on issues related to aesthetics, durability and noise with the use of lightweight structure and materials. The result has created a peaceful, calm shared space supporting and facilitating quite study, group work and the safe and effective movement of students within the space.

The eco-literacy focus has meant sustainable principles have been foremost in design – for example, all water from the site is collected for reuse either in tanks or in a major wetlands development on site. the key issues were:

  • Home spaces for each class
  • Shared space, even if smaller than in previous stages
  • If smaller shared space, then larger outdoor veranda space
  • Small tutorial/activity room
  • Teacher documentation and collaboration areas
  • Display areas for documentation of activities
  • Similar learning environmental conditions to previous stages – fresh air, thermal comfort, balanced daylight, good acoustics, direct access to outdoors; L-shaped classrooms without teaching walls
  • Sustainable design including efficient heating and cooling, daylighting, rainwater capture and reuse, bush ga