Grimshaw and BVN have won an international competition to redesign schools in Parramatta, a suburb in Sydney, Australia. Planned to be the state's first high-rise educational facility, the proposal combines the Arthur Phillip High School (APHS) and Parramatta Public School (PPS) into a 14-story building designed after the ‘Schools-within-Schools’ (SWIS) model - "a template which delivers learning in stages rather than via age groups."
From the architects: At more than 14-stories-high, and accommodating up to 2,000 students at the high school and 1,000 students at the primary school, the combined APHS/PSP redevelopment responds to the significant urban densification of Sydney and demonstrates NSW’s policy for large schools on smaller consolidated land holdings.
The design is based on the model of ‘Schools-within-Schools’ (SWIS), a template which delivers learning in stages rather than via age groups. Each school is comprised of small personalized units, or ‘home bases’, with students from across a range of ages and backgrounds.
Each home base houses up to 280 primary and 330 secondary students and will create a community environment which each pupil can identify as their own. New adaptive layouts and a kit of parts approach to furniture and space also offer flexibility to cater for a variety of learning styles and facilities.
“The school buildings act as the social infrastructure for the transformation of individuals and their communities through learning, inclusivity and outreach, with wellbeing and playfulness arising out of the integration of the physical and the environmental," says Grimshaw Partner Andrew Cortese.
The 66-meter-high secondary school houses six home-bases within a series of large two story spaces. With stacked mezzanines and outdoor learning terraces, each home base contains science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics facilities at all of the building’s levels.
The primary school is contained within a four-story gradually curving form, creating an outdoor learning and play space which comprises three home-base areas and a kindergarten. These are interlinked horizontally and vertically with stairs, terraces and platforms.
BVN Principal, Abbie Galvin noted that “the buildings are open and permeable thereby enabling connectivity and nurture.”
Cortese added: “The program for the schools is one of pedagogical leadership and innovation, which is supported by Grimshaw and BVN’s design objectives for an architecture that is distinct in its response and which makes place for culture to manifest, individuals to learn and communities to emerge."