Created by CHT Architects, Parade College’s Nash Learning Centre is an epitomisation of progressive teaching methods and educational technology. With a number of incorporated diverse, multi-mode learning spaces embedded within the building, the project has completely refreshed the entire school, while citing the values and history of the institution.
The brief provided required CHT to respond in a traditional, architectural and a technological manner, adapting contemporary approaches to pedagogy through the separation and adaptation of the flexible spaces. This resulted in the building being split into two and a half levels, with a mix of communal and private spaces implemented throughout.
The design language of the building effectively signals a new era for Parade College, despite CHT trying to retain as much of the original structure as possible. With the existing campus featuring a robust brown brick modernist design. The sleek white facade is effectively the antithesis of the existing buildings, while the taut modernist lines have been replaced in favour of arches that acknowledge the religious ideals of the school. The building signifies the evolution of the school, fusing education and technology with the welcoming feel of the archways that ensures it is still a familiar, warm place despite the shift in form.
The building divides old and new between the two main levels, with traditional literature taking place on the Ground Level and interactive media used and displayed on an array of touch screens in the Project Hub on Level 1. A large stained glass mural was removed and reinstalled by the practice, which now sits above the eastern entry and links the theatre to the Learning Hub. Smaller private spaces sit along the perimeter of the building, which work to consolidate the communal spaces, while maintaining visual links to the outside. The spaces between the arches have been enclosed with glazing to maximise natural light. The glazing has been tempered with a ceramic frit, in order to control the amount of heat gain and solar ingress.
Bringing an existing building into the future in terms of its learning offerings and its design language, CHT has created a space for progressive pedagogy to thrive. The refreshed building gives students and teachers every opportunity to operate at their utmost, while its form remains aware of its past and the core ethics of the school.