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    Hayball takes on vertical schools at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale

    Stephanie Stefanovic

    Hayball is exhibiting five projects at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Part of the “Time Space Existence” exhibition, the composition of these projects addresses a number of issues in contemporary Australia, including the rise of the vertical school.

    The projects on exhibition include Hayball’s shortlisted competition entry for the Victorian Pride Centre, Trinity College, Richmond Secondary School, South Melbourne Primary School and Melbourne University Innovation Precinct Student Accommodation. 

    Two of these projects are vertical schools – Richmond High School and South Melbourne Primary School. 

    According to Hayball director Ann Lau, these schools can serve as a solution to growing urban populations and the need to regenerate densified urban areas. 

    South Melbourne Primary School

    “As the first vertical state school in Victoria and the first civic building completed for the new Fishermans Bend Precinct, Hayball’s design of South Melbourne Primary School rethinks the education model within a densifying urban environment, showcasing how a school can successfully operate as the heart or hub of its community,” says Lau.

    “Synergies are created through the shared use of spaces, cooperative management, and governance working in partnership to develop community amenities and educational programming.” 

    Richmond High School

    VeniceB-RHS.jpg

    “Located in an equally dense area of inner-urban Melbourne, Richmond High School extends across two contrasting sites incorporating both academic and athletic precincts,” says Lau.

    “Just as urban intensification and contemporary pedagogical development connects the school to the community at South Melbourne, it works similarly at Richmond. For example, the school incorporates several multi-function spaces that are shared with the local community to actively encourage cross-cultural and intergenerational learning opportunities.” 

    Time Space Existence

    “The exhibition’s themes of space, time and existence invited us to reflect critically upon our philosophical positions and ideas,” says Lau.

    “As architects, our remit is intrinsically bound by the constraints of the physical universe, but it is not limited by them. We try instead to reconsider and harness spatial intelligence to inspire and inform a meaningful design solution.” 

    The five projects exhibited by Hayball represent a five-year interval, 2015-2020, within a 34-year practice spectrum. 

    “What interests us most is applying the lens of the present – the abundance of vast and emerging local and global themes that are generating discussion and evolutionary approaches to design.” 

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