Text description provided by the architects. This is the first project we have featured by Tridente Architects from North Adelaide, Australia. Founded in 1987, they take pride in responding to the uniqueness of each project. Rather than producing signature architecture, their projects strive to be sensitive to the specific climatic, environmental, physical, social and cultural aspects of each site and client. Today’s featured project tackles all of those various aspects. As the second major project to be implemented after master planning the entire campus, the Marcellin Learning Centre at the Sacred Heart College Senior School in Somerton Park, South Australia, reinforces the schools focus of being a teaching institution of its time. This new facility signifies this by the intervention of a contemporary building in a very prominent location within a historically significant precinct.
The Learning Centre is situated on the site of the original Stables Building and required its demolition. Whilst not listed the original building had a strong relationship with the adjacent significant State Heritage listed buildings and was a focus of the college community.
The requirement for additional general purpose learning areas to address increased student numbers provided the opportunity for the introduction of a lift to service not only the new teaching areas but also to the existing adjacent classroom buildings in the future.
The built form is quite compact, responding to the limited availability of open space and proximity to the main entrance. The planning rationale evolved from the requirement to address multiple issues has resulted in the teaching spaces arranged around a partially enclosed spine with the splayed two story elements in conjunction with the floating roof drawing one to the entry stairs and toward a large picture widow framing the Adelaide Hills.
Visible from a major road and a side street, the massing and combination of forms and screen balance the contextual composition with a striking simple intrusion. Highlighted in the street façade is a protruding display containing the white, almost ghostly, figure of Venerable Marcellin Champagnat. A statue most recently incorporated in the Stables Building.
Responding to budgetary constraints yet imbued with a quality exceeding expectation, the entry gate incorporate stone also salvaged from the earlier building
Day lighting has been maximised by the provision of large expanses of glazing, predominately orientated to the south and shaded to the north, complemented, where required, by T5 fluorescent and compact fluorescent low energy light fittings. Whilst air conditioned at the request of the school, passive ventilation has been adopted throughout and the use is promoted to the teaching staff by the college.
Roof water is captured in an in-ground tank and the stored water used to flush the toilets and water the adjacent lawns.
The built form goes beyond just responding directly to the college’s base requirements. It reinforces the new design language established on the site and further refines the palette for future development whilst defining the north-eastern corner of the site and the major entry into the college grounds.
The varied teaching opportunities provided in the adaptable and multi-functional pedagogical spaces both satisfy the brief and provide the flexibility and neutral background necessary to foster enlightened teaching.