Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary School / Baldasso Cortese Architects

Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary School / Baldasso Cortese Architects

© Peter Clarke © Peter Clarke © Peter Clarke © Peter Clarke + 18

  • Architects: Baldasso Cortese Architects
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2014
  • Photographs photographs: Peter Clarke
  • Educational Specialist

    Hal Cutting
  • Technician

    Konrad Schaller, Albert Picone
  • Interior Designer

    Anastasia Malishev
  • Graduate Architect

    Vanessa Wong
  • Graphic presentation

    Gabriella Muto
  • Builders

    2 Construct/ Nicol Group/ Magellan Projects
  • Landscape Architect

    Urban initiatives/ Land Design Partnership
  • Structure /Civil/ Geotechnical Engineer

  • Service Engineers

    MacCormack Associates/ Clements
  • Building Surveyor

    McKenzie Group
  • Client

    Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary School/ Catholic Education Office
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© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

Text description provided by the architects. M aster planned in 2007 for a long term enrolment of 450 students, the school has been designed as 3 Learning Communities, each to accommodate 150 multi-age students from Prep –Y6.

© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

The school was completed in 5 stages starting with Learning Community 1; Administration; and the BER funded Multi-Purpose Hall and Learning community 2. Learning Community 3 together with the Hall extension was the final stage of development at Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

It was clear at the outset that this school was going to be different from all others with the focus to move completely away from formal classrooms to a range of spaces for different activities and learning styles in a multi-age environment. Personalised learning, peer-to-peer collaborative learning and team teaching all influenced the architectural design of physical learning spaces. The embedding of technology in the learning space – smart boards, networked and wireless connection to computers hand held devices adds to the flexibility demanded by the curriculum.

Master Plan
Master Plan

Students are grouped “Stage not Age” increasing engagement, they are taught to take increased responsibility for their learning. The teacher as a facilitator and working together with other teachers require far more planning and organization time. A large localized work area, surrounded by all their resources / photocopying needs has been provided. A raised play within the main learning area caters for quieter more tactile activities or story time. Conference and meeting rooms are available for small group discussion, reading recovery or for staff use.

© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

Our Lady of the Southern Cross has been designed without a formal Library. The library functionality has been dispersed between the 3 learning communities allowing the library resources to be directly accessible to the students where they need it. Each learning community has a science space developed which incorporates generous bench and sink areas at varying heights and an island bench, cooktop and storage space. A second wet area has been provided for Art and Construction with direct access off the learning space.


The evolution of the master plan has resulted in larger footprint for successive learning spaces, particular attention in the design was given to increased natural light and ventilation and acoustic treatment. The raised roof and electronically operable windows allow natural light and ventilation to penetrate the centre of the building. Acoustically, a high degree of sound insulation, angled walls and sound absorbent materials ensure the minimum of disruption in the learning space. Internal spaces lead directly to landscaped outside learning areas protected by large covered eaves and provided with shade trees and seating.

© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

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Project location

Address: 2/20 Howqua Way, Taylors Hill VIC 3037, Australia

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary School / Baldasso Cortese Architects" 09 Jul 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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