Australia's modern architecture has diverse roots. Grounded in designs like the famous Sydney Opera House, the country’s contemporary projects are radically embracing new aesthetic ideas. Moving beyond traditional pisé construction to create articulated forms, modern designs are emerging as multicultural hybrids both derivative and imported in nature. Exemplifying this dynamic, Australian education projects reinterpret vernacular architecture to embody contemporary culture. Representative of a design language that’s uniquely Australian, these projects build off the continent-nation’s history to create space for learning, recreation and reflection.
Integrating public space and gathering areas into creative learning environments, each of the following projects blend architecture with the surrounding landscape. Inclusive and expressive, the designs explores the country’s unique spatial approaches through the lens of education. Found on a range of scales and settings, they use novel envelopes and sharp angles to articulate transition and define interior and exterior space. Capitalizing on climate and views, they embrace their context to reinvent expectation.
St Aidan’s The Link is a new Innovation and Design Hub that transforms an existing arts precinct constructed in the 1960’s to meet the needs of current pedagogy. The Link provides new learning spaces which facilitates subjects to encourage design led thinking and entrepreneurial skills critical to students in their future career paths. The design team and school leadership team embraced the opportunity to re-use the existing classrooms and build upon the industrial aesthetic rather than demolishing and starting anew.
Andrew Burns Architecture has completed the first stage of a major rural campus in the Greater Blue Mountains National Park. The commission was awarded through an invited competition process, comprising a number of the country’s leading architectural practices. The project places emphasis on the experience of the student, creating a place that extends and enriches the education of the individual, building their sense of wonder, respect for nature and for one another.
The new Highgate Primary School Teaching Classrooms immerse the students in a creative environment that is anchored into the surrounding context, creating new relationships and ways of seeing their environment. The building offers a variety of scales of experience from distant views to intimate classroom experiences. Light, color and pattern are developed as an educational tool extending the classroom curriculum into the built environment.
The Learning Project evolved through the masteRuyton Girls' School / Woods Bagotr planning of Caulfield Grammar School’s three metropolitan campuses. Early in the process it became evident that a new pedagogy, strongly grounded in research and developed through professional learning, was emerging at the school. Questions were asked about what learning would look like at CGS in the next five, ten or even fifty years, and how the spaces would evolve beyond the existing classrooms and collaborative zones to support this.
The Mabel Fidler Building forms a new entry and centre for learning at Ravenswood School for Girls and functions as the central hub within the school environment. The design of this building was initiated through a master planning process focused on creating an attractive, imaginative and stimulating learning environment. The Mabel Fidler Building is designed to be in scale with the existing school buildings and be seen as a modern insertion into a campus of varied buildings.
Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School began in an Italianate mansion on windy hill, opposite the Essendon Footy Club. This building is exceptional in a residential area where Federation housing dominates. Slowly the school has accumulated much of the property in the block bounded by Nicholson, Raleigh, Napier & Fletcher Streets. This new project, a two story year 5 & 6 block with 3 classrooms above and below, is an important addition to the school and public interface to Nicholson Street.
Located on the rural plain between Mt Macedon and the ranges of Hanging Rock and JimJim, Braemar College’s new Middle School campus creates a unique and nurturing place specifically tailored to contemporary Middle School learning for 540 students in years 5-8. As stage one of a larger masterplan, the Middle School campus creates a special and nurturing place that celebrates education and social interaction, and whose fabric responds to its rural context while respecting distant views to surrounding natural landmarks.
Woods Bagot has designed a new education facility for one of Melbourne’s preeminent girls schools, Ruyton Girls’ School, transforming the site into a dynamic offering for students and staff. The design sees a move away from traditional classroom planning framework where desks are lined in rows and a teacher educates from the front, to a model that prioritises natural light, flexible furniture and technology-enabled teaching and learning spaces for task-based, student-centred flexible learning.