Overall comments from the Jury

The jury this year had the pleasure, and the headache, of an abundance of outstanding entries to choose from.

We were particularly pleased to see new models of student-centred learning environments being implemented for students of all ages and needs. Many of these have been borne out of thorough planning processes and broad stakeholder consultation. This is resulting in exciting, flexible and highly functional facilities that are contributing to measurable improvements in student outcomes, regardless of budgets.

Of particular note have been:

First, many examples of buildings originally designed to respond to earlier educational paradigms have been adapted, to become outstanding places for 21st century, technology-rich learning. These included buildings that were notable architectural works of their time.

Second, the concept of the library has been re-invented, as a home for independent learning and collaboration, in a resource rich environment. In many primary schools this has been thanks in part to the BER program.

Third, practical application of environmentally sustainable design is now the norm, both inside and out.

And last, we were pleased to have a number of entries from both the tertiary sector, where current teaching and learning methodologies are now being reflected in facility developments, and local communities, where facilities which incorporate contemporary learning environments are now being developed within municipal facilities. Experience of excellence in these community facilities should mean that parents and teachers will no longer be satisfied with “chalk and talk” classroom-based school environments for their children.

Category 1 New Construction – Entire New Facility 


Christian Brothers College new Junior Campus
Swanbury Penglase Architects

In the entire new facility category there were a number of outstanding entries of which one, the Christian Brothers College New Junior Campus in Adelaide, was awarded a commendation, because of the unique way a new student-centred facility has been built in three levels on a very tight city site. Features include roof top play areas with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, interactive furniture and music industry standard music practice rooms. 

Congratulations to Swanbury Penglase Architects and CBC.

Architect’s summary

An extensive brief development and master planning process helped to replace Christian Brothers College’s dilapidated junior campus with a new state-of-the-art facility that embraces 21st century pedagogies and provides a new multimodal, multimedia enhanced educational facility designed around the interplay of shape, colour, texture and light.


Gungahlin College

Munns Sly Williams Boag, Rubida Research, Jeff Phillips Consulting, and the ACT Education and Training Directorate and Gungahlin College

The clear winner was Gungahlin College campus in the ACT. This school, for almost 1000 year 11 and 12 students, is exemplary in many ways. It is the first college built in the ACT in the past 20 years and the first wholly designed and constructed college by the ACT Government. The completed project reflects the thorough planning and briefing process, including extensive research, visits to schools across Australia and wide stakeholder consultation. This focused on how students learn, encouraging interdisciplinary curricula, and promoting a more collaborative approach to learning. Complementing this is the integration of educational and community facilities, co-located around a public forecourt, and a range of carefully designed external learning spaces, together with community sporting facilities.

Well-deserved congratulations to Munns Sly Williams Boag, Rubida Research, Jeff Phillips Consulting, and the ACT Education and Training Directorate and Gungahlin College.

Architect’s summary

The Gungahlin College project is a mix of educational and community facilities in an integrated campus with a strong sustainability focus. It encourages a student-centred, interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to learning in a flexible, enriched learning environment featuring an innovative and seamless alignment of technology, pedagogy, and space provision.

Category 1B New Construction – Major Facility

The panel looked for entries that provided evidence of wide community consultation contributing to an educational brief that clearly defined the expectations and aspirations of the users. Many of these submissions stood out as exemplars of where the built environment will have an uplifting impact upon learners of all ages.


Holmsglen Institute of TAFE, Building 3 Health Sciences
DL Design Group

A commendation goes to Holmsglen Institute of TAFE Building 3: Health Sciences.

The planning process for this facility was complex in that it involved a wider community consultation in addition to a comprehensive education brief.

A unique quality of the project included the inclusion of a simulated immersive learning facility based on wide research embedded in technologically based training aids.

The building includes a range of energy efficient initiatives and is currently awaiting a Green Building Council of Australia, Five Star Design rating.

From a user perspective the finished facility has wide recognition both locally and internationally as an exemplar for delivery of learning outcomes of students.

Congratulations to DL Design Group and Holmsglen Institute.

Architect’s summary

An environmentally sustainable, state of the art, specialist building for nursing and health sciences; Building 3 was erected out of planning processes between the design team, key stakeholders, end users and community engagement. Through this information and desire to build a Five Green Star Rated Building (GBCA awarded 2012), that this educational facility was born.


Chilwell Primary School
Third Ecology

Another commendation went to Chilwell Primary School: New Library and Classroom Building.

This project demonstrates that a compressed planning process can result in a clever and innovative school facility, when clarity of the school’s vision is apparent in the briefing process. 

Chilwell Primary School, built in 1878 on a on a small 1.07 hectare site, responded to the BER funding and time constraints with a plan to break away from the past traditional style classrooms through a contemporary building that would fit with the heritage face brick school building. 

The final built design by Third Ecology demonstrates all aspects of good design including the use of outside space integrated into the learning environment. A delightful feature of the project is the use of material and colour while the structural bones of the building are on display, promoting legibility and honesty. The building includes good ESD elements including well-lit, naturally ventilated spaces.

Congratulations to Third Ecology and Chilwell Primary School.

Architect’s summary

Chilwell Primary School has a bright and engaging, purpose built facility to drive their 21st century education program. Four learning spaces with a shared learning common and linked break out spaces engage students in individual, group, class and year sized learning practices, in efficient and thermally stable, healthy spaces.


Mount Waverley Secondary College Junior Campus, Redevelopment Clarke Hopkins Clarke Architects

The winner in this category is Mount Waverley Secondary College Junior Campus, redevelopment of the Junior Campus

At the forefront of this project was the strong relationship forged between educators and architects. The educators were very clear in expressing their needs and aspirations. The architects were attentive and responded to these needs with both imagination and thoughtfulness.

The project exemplified a thorough and very open planning process where community engagement and consultation were an integral part of the design process. A key design consideration was that the new learning environments needed to accommodate the current pedagogy and also allow for further development into the future. It also provided an identifiable hub for Year 7 and 8 students.

Clarke Hopkins Clarke incorporated a range of initiatives, including indirect natural south light, electronically controlled cross ventilation, internal thermal mass walls for passive thermal comfort, and visual and physical connections to the outside supporting connected indoor and outdoor learning.

The Mount Waverley Secondary College Junior Campus has been designed to support evolving pedagogies, to demonstrate the importance that the community places on education and provide a facility that the whole community can use.

Special congratulations to Clarke Hopkins Clarke Architects and Mount Waverly Secondary College.

Architect’s summary

This project saw the redevelopment of an existing primary school into a Year 7 and 8 junior campus for Mount Waverley Secondary College. The campus provides students with engaging facilities that enable a multi-disciplinary communal approach to learning and supports students in their transition from primary school to secondary school.

Category 2 Renovation/Modernisation of
an Entire School or Major Facility

This category of Renovation/Modernisation of an Entire School or Major Facility included a wide range of projects with budgets ranging from $14 million down to $400,000.

The jury found it very difficult to pick a clear winner amongst such a diverse range.


Commendations were given to three smaller projects.

These were:

The Academic Centre at Ormond College, Melbourne

McGlashan Everist Architects 

This respectful yet quite radical adaptation of a heritage listed, Robin Boyd designed, architectural icon of the 1960s, has created a remarkable facility for self directed, technology-rich learning at a tertiary level. 

Congratulations to McGlashan Everist Architects and Ormond College.

Architect's summary

The Academic Centre is an adaptive re-use of a heritage listed; two-storey octagonal shaped Romberg and Boyd building circa 1964, located at Ormond College. The transformation represents a cohesive, contemporary integration of library, technology, pedagogy and materiality.

The Ichthus Centre at St Monica’s Primary School, Wodonga, Victoria 

No 42 Architects

This learning centre for year 5 and 6 students creates a sophisticated learning environment for all modes of learning in what is a simple building representing amazing value for the funding available.

Congratulations to No 42 Architects and St Monica’s.

Architect’s summary

The Icthus Centre was designed to reflect and support the constructivist pedagogical approach of the progressive teaching staff at St Monica’s Primary, Wodonga. 

It provides a diverse range of interlinked learning settings that interact visually and physically. Students flow smoothly between these settings finding places that satisfy their learning needs.

The Performance Arts Centre at St Clare’s Primary School,
Tully Queensland

Total Project Group Architects

The project converted a simple shelter structure into a high quality performance space, that itself opens up and doubles as a stage for large outdoor performance and assembly space. An outstanding asset that is now serving a community recovering from the destructive effects of a extremely severe cyclone. Congratulations to Total Project Group Architects and St Clare’s Primary.

Architect’s summary of project

St Clare’s is a single stream primary school of some 180–200 pupils. This major building project was initiated under the Federal Government’s BER program. The school applied the funding to a minor extension to its recently renovated library, a new WC facility, a new classroom and the subject of this submission: the conversion of an existing undercover area to a new performance arts centre and adjacent outdoor learning space.


QUT Kelvin Grove Library Upgrade

Peddle Thorp and Walker and James Cubitt Architects 

As a result of a broad ranging consultation including the use social media for student consultation, this building, which was a notable architectural work of the 1970s, has been stripped back, reworked and reoriented to become an attractive hub for technology-rich, independent and collaborative learning. The upgrade has significantly increased its student capacity and energy efficiency. 

Congratulations to Peddle Thorp and Walker and James Cubitt Architects and QUT.

Architect’s summary

The refurbishment of QUT’s Kelvin Grove Library reveals the celebrated concrete library building whilst synchronising it with technological and spatial demands of a modern tertiary library. Comprehensive replanning delivers a rich mix of personal and group learning. External spaces and integrated artworks deliver a library focused on serving a creative campus community into the future.  

Category 3 

An Education Initiative/ a Design Solution
for an Innovative Program 

The panel was impressed by the range of innovative projects submitted in this category that challenged the boundaries and definitions of a learning space. In many examples educators are able to seamlessly adapt spaces to engage, stimulate and motivate students at all levels. The environments created were often visually stunning and had a transformative impact upon the users.


University of South Australia Centre for Science and Maths at
Mawson Lakes

Russell and Yelland Architects

The project set out to transform two existing tutorial rooms at the University SA Mawson Lakes Campus to provide a lab for outreach Sciences and Maths programs for Years 9–12 with an emphasis on experiential learning capable of supporting variable curriculum. 

Architects Russell and Yelland delivered a vibrant, creative, welcoming and comfortable learning space which engages multisensory learning through the use of stimulating colour and fixtures, a range of work areas that are flexible and visually stimulating and the provision of access to graphic and multisensory resources. 

This project delivered a highly stimulating and diverse range of learning environments with a modest budget of a little over $300,000. It was well briefed and planned with the result being simple yet highly creative and inspiring space that is a strong enabler to teaching and learning activities appropriate for the 21st century.

Congratulations to Russell and Yelland Architects and the University of South Australia.


Melbourne University Learning Environments: Spatial Lab


This project is an interesting example of transformation of a gymnasium constructed in the 1930s into a flexible learning environment suited to 21st century pedagogies.

The planning and briefing process was most comprehensive including prototyping of elements with mobility including ergonomic assessment

The finished project offers a highly adaptive space that can be transformed to create an exciting and interesting range of learning spaces. It provides a venue where educators can be challenged to experiment with and develop new teaching and learning strategies.

Use of colour is great with an interesting mix of materials and surfaces including some elements that identify with the original structure.

This project is worthy of recognition as an outstanding example of active research and development of a learning facility.

Special congratulations to Architectus and Melbourne University.

Overall winner 

Gungahlin College ACT

Munns Sly Williams Boag, Rubida Research, Jeff Phillips Consulting, and the ACT Education and Training Directorate

In looking for an overall winner the jury sought to identify an exemplary project that brought together a thorough approach to consultation, briefing, design and commissioning, in a manner that could clearly demonstrate the best in education facilities planning.

As a result, the jury needed little time to agree on the winning scheme.

A feature of the winning entry that particularly enthused the jury was the fact the journey for this facility started with that, a thorough educational brief, clearly targeted at the particular needs of the developing community it served, and contemporary research into how students learn, and it concluded with an equally thorough users guide to the learning spaces, in the completed facility. 

It is a facility with no learning spaces that would resemble traditional classrooms, but nonetheless comprises entirely of spaces that are designed to encourage self-directed and collaborative inquiry-based learning. At the same time it is a model of environmentally sustainable building design.

Again congratulations to Munns Sly Williams Boag, Rubida Research, Jeff Phillips Consulting, and the ACT Education and Training Directorate and Gungahlin College.

CEFPI Australasia Region 2012 Educational Facilities Awards

CEFPI Australasia is a community of some 500 professionals working together to plan and build better learning environments for students throughout South-east Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.

CEFPI is a worldwide organisation sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices in planning, designing and building learning environments that centre community and enhance student achievement.

CEFPI embraces all professionals involved in the education field. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in improving the educational environment for our students. Architects, engineers, educators, furniture manufacturers, project managers, facility managers are all represented in our membership. Our growth represents increasing interest by the educational community in the affect of the physical environment upon student learning. 

The association serves its members through three key strategic areas, Advocacy, Professional Development and Research.

We hold an annual Regional Conference and this year’s has just concluded in Brisbane. A feature of our conferences for the past three years has been our Educational Facilities Awards. Entries are able to be submitted by any members for the various categories of awards. The categories and respective winners for 2012 are:

New Construction, Entire School

Gungahlin College, Gungahlin, ACT

Architects: Munns Sly Moore Architects & Williams Boag Architects in association with Rubida Research and Jeff Phillips Consulting for Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate

New Construction, Major Facility

Mt Waverley Secondary College, Junior Campus, Victoria

Campus Redevelopment

Architects: Clarke Hopkins Clarke Architects

Renovation, Modernisation of School/Major Facility

Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland

Library upgrade

Architect: Peddle Thorp Architects & James Cubitt Architects

Education Initiative, a Design Solution for an Innovative Program

University of Melbourne, Parkville Victoria

Learning Environments Spatial Laboratory

Architects; Architectus and Assoc. Prof. Jamieson, Strategic Advisor, Learning Environments Design 

Overall Winner: The 2012 CEFPI Australasia Award

Gungahlin College, Gungahlin, ACT

Architects: Munns Sly Moore Architects & Williams Boag Architects in association with Rubida Research and Jeff Phillips Consulting for Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate

This year we had some 62 entries covering all categories and so formed two jury panels, members of which were educators, architects and project managers.

During the conference, entries were displayed in the foyer of the conference centre for all attendees to view. The awards program is a vital part of the conference for members to appreciate what is being designed and built right across the country,and indeed, in Singapore and New Zealand as well. This cross-fertilisation of ideas is enriching for our profession.

Winners in each category are supported by the Australasia Region to enter the International Awards Program which will be run in conjunction with the CEFPI International Conference this year in San Antonio, Texas in September. From previous international conferences and discussions with our international members, it is clear that our Australian schools stand out in the international areana for innovative design.

Janet Mattiske

Awards Committee Chair