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    2016 Learning Environments Awards reveal new trends in educational architecture

    Nathan Johnson

    Winners of the 2016 Learning Environments Australasia Awards were revealed on 30 May at the Learning Environments Australasia Conference in Melbourne.

    Renowned school building specialists, Hayball received the top prize of the program, taking the Overall Winner award as well as a category prize for their Learning Project for Caulfield Grammar School in Victoria which they completed in association with LEaRN, The University of Melbourne.

    The project involved injecting a prefabricated building designed for purposeful and differentiated learning on each of Caufield Grammar’s three campuses across Melbourne, including its Wheelers Hill, Caulfield and Malvern Campuses.The buildings adopt the concepts of the ‘sticky campus’ and sequential learning, allowing students to move through the spaces progressively as projects develop and the need for a new environment arises (more about the project below).

    The Learning Project is one of a few innovative school projects Hayball is working on at the moment that shake the traditional model for educational architecture, the other in the pipeline is Victoria’s first vertical school at South Melbourne Primary School.

    Innovation in educational design was a major talking point of the Learning Environments Australasia Conference, which gathered some of Australia’s finest architects in the sector under one roof. Vertical schools in the context of the growing city and the end of the sprawling single-storey development were also debated, prompting Hayball Director Richard Leonard to suggest that Australian educational design is moving away from the “fortress school.”

    "Land in the inner city is always a challenge and that means putting more students onto sites," he told Fairfax Media. 

    “We are going to have to get used to a different idea of what school is."

    "We have to rethink how the school can share with the city and how the city can be part of the school by using public parks, gymnasiums and the community getting use of the school facilities like art rooms and technology spaces." 

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    The design for South Melbourne Primary School by Hayball. Image: Hayball

    Vertical schools are also being designed in other parts of Australia. An international competition to design NSW’s first high-rise school in Parramatta was recently won by Grimshaw Architects and BVN Architecture, and their design for the new Arthur Phillip High School and neighbouring Parramatta Public School is currently being assessed by the NSW Planning Department.

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    The design for Arthur Phillip High School and neighbouring Parramatta Public School

    But innovation isn’t just about going up. The 2016 Learning Environments Australasia Awards celebrated good educational design in all shape and sizes, with some 20 category awards and commendations handed out to Australia’s best education sector architects.

    The 2016 Regional Awards

    OVERALL WINNER

    The Learning Project for Caulfield Grammar School by Hayball (in association with LEaRN, The University of Melbourne)

    c.PNG
    Photography by Dianna Snape

    About the project


    CATEGORY 1: ENTIRE NEW SCHOOL

    WINNER

    Officer Secondary College by Clarke Hopkins Clarke

    COMMENDATION
    Golden Square Primary School by K2LD Architects


    CATEGORY 2: NEW CONSTRUCTION l MAJOR FACILITY

    JOINT WINNERS

    Montagne Centre, by Y2 Architecture  

    Woodleigh Homesteads, by Law Architects

    COMMENDATIONS

    • Ivanhoe Senior Years Centre, by McBride Charles Ryan
    • Guildford Grammar School Preparatory School Development, by Christou Design Group
    • The Mandeville Centre, by Architectus Group
    • Uni SA Mt. Gambier Learning Centre, by Russell Yelland Architects

    CATEGORY 3: RENOVATIONS/MODERNISATIONS OVER $2M

    JOINT WINNERS

    Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Primary School, by BVN Architecture 

    Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo Senior Secondary College, by Y2 Architecture

    COMMENDATIONS

    • Charles Sturt University Engineering Building, by Thomson Adsett
    • St Catherine’s Senior School redevelopment, by Croxon Ramsay

    CATEGORY 4: RENOVATIONS/MODERNISATIONS UNDER $2M

    WINNER

    Junior Learning Centre, St Mary's Myrtleford, by No.42 Architects

    CATEGORY 5: EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION 

    WINNER

    The Learning Project for Caulfield Grammar School by Hayball (in association with LEaRN, The University of Melbourne)

    COMMENDATIONS

    • The Gipson Commons, St Michael’s Grammar School’s by Architectus Group
    • The Scots College GCC Science activity-based learning fit out, by JCA Architects
    • Woodleigh School Homestead redevelopment by Law Architects

    CATEGORY 6: EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE / OUTDOOR LEARNING AREA

    WINNER

    Earth Sciences Garden by Rush Wright Associates

    COMMENDATION

    • Eltham College Junior School Playspace by Jeavons Landscape Architectsand Woodleigh Homesteads, by Law Architects
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