With a focus on encouraging creativity, independent learning and connection to the outdoors, a number of innovative school designs have been shortlisted in this year’s NSW Architecture Awards.
Hosted by the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter, the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards celebrate the best of the state’s architecture in 11 different categories. This year’s Educational Architecture category contains nine shortlisted projects, including five school buildings.
As jury chair for the Educational Architecture category Laura Cockburn explains, there was no “one size fits all” approach in the shortlisted projects, with authentic engagement with school communities undertaken to ensure the life of the project would deliver their vision.
“The educational entries were dynamic and sought specific solutions for their school and community needs. Designs exhibited a maturity in approach that enabled life beyond the new school day - offering value to the clients and connection to community,” says Cockburn.
“Each project showed creativity in solving complex planning issues and making key moves to generate connected campus outcomes, benefiting the student, teacher and visitor experience of the school.”
At MLC, a private girls’ school in the Sydney suburb of Burwood, the new four-storey Senior Centre building by BVN places learner-centred design principles at its centre.
Designed much like an office, the Senior Centre encourages students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning. The building offers a variety of different learning spaces, along with suspended glass pods which senior students can use for private study, small group study or meetings with teachers.
The redevelopment of Homebush West Public School by TKD Architects was designed to accommodate the expanding student population, with the three-level building delivering 26 new teaching spaces and a large, innovative rooftop play and educational space.
“On a tight urban site with clusters of existing buildings, the design solution for providing new classrooms and adequate outdoor learning and play areas for the increased school population meant going up,” says Cockburn.
“TKD have created a dynamic series of learning environments for the students and enhanced the connectedness and legibility across the campus - while providing an array of outdoor learning spaces in which to explore, run and play.”
Setting a new benchmark in early education environments, Meriden Junior School’s Lingwood Campus encourages its students to confidently engage with their surroundings through a holistic approach to the design of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Designed by Allen Jack+Cottier and informed by Passive House principles for comfort, the new buildings combine colourful, light-filled interiors and expandable classrooms that extend the learning outdoors onto covered verandahs, playgrounds and gardens.
Winners of the NSW Architecture Awards will be announced on 3 July in a special virtual presentation, which will be livestreamed to the public for the first time ever here.
Image: Homebush West Public School by TKD Architects / Mike Chorley / Supplied