A key measure for success for any educational design project should be that both teachers and students enjoy using a space for its intended purpose as a place for learning and growth for future generations.
Another design goal could be that there is also potential for future growth in building terms, so that as the capabilities of students expand so too does the built environment to facilitate.
The Cruci Building at Loreto College in Coorparoo, designed by ThomsonAdsett, opened in October 2014 as a new three-level facility and it has been designed so that it will expand in the future to form a performing arts theatre.
The building’s layout is flexible and interactive, and it has already been well received by students and teachers:
“The learning spaces are in high demand,” says Loreto College Principal, Cheryl Hamilton.
“Both the teachers and the students love being there... the classrooms and the adjoining breakout areas provide an atmosphere for learning that invites genuine collaboration where collective thinking can easily be made visible.”
ThomsonAdsett emphasised that the interiors was designed to foster a variety of pedagogy, provided through flexible and easily changed layouts and new technology such as writable surfaces and wireless devices.
The verandah windows are a G.James Toughened Laminated glass called Starphire in ‘White Translucent Laminate’. They are also function as an external writeable surface alongside a series of external whiteboards which are also a G.James product called Vanceva in ‘Polar White’.
Outside and structurally, the design has a future-proof focus, as the building will eventually serve to provide theatre functions for the school. This Cruci’s large multipurpose ground level space will eventually act as a theatre foyer and the building’s lift and kitchen have been strategically planned to maximise agility, service operations and future intermissions respectively.
One of the more striking design elements is The Cruci’s curved bronze screen which comprises a series of 150mm x 100mm Duragal angles that curve around the building and are punctured by different sized breakout areas. They are sealed and coloured by four coats of Wattyl Solaguard.
ThomsonAdsett Group Director of Design and Education Communities, Graham Legerton, says the design of the screen defines the future vision of the site and that the building in its entirety defines what architecture is all about.
“The screen references a front of house curtain with a delicacy, serenity and form that has been sculpted to frame and create variable sized learning settings, whilst realising a memorable sense of arrival,” Legerton explains.
“Our team loved the creative and collaborative approach on this project. All parties shared the vision of creating something special and worked tirelessly to achieve it. The simplicity of the end result and joy that it is bringing to students, staff and the community is what architecture is all about.”
Images: Alicia Taylor