A dramatic curved facade forms the dynamic face of a new STEM learning facility at Toorak College near Melbourne. Designed by McBride Charles Ryan Architects, the Swift Science and Technology Centre at Toorak College in Mount Eliza encourages students to study STEM courses, equipping them with essential skills and knowledge for the modern work environment.

With the historic girls’ school located close to the eastern coastline of the Mornington Peninsula, the new STEM facility has been designed and orientated to respond to the local climate conditions. The northern arced façade is a steeply angled wall of glazing positioned to embrace the warming winter sun.

On the building’s south-facing walls, a more traditional solid brick finish with reduced glazing gives a nod to the surrounding historic buildings, while adding to the facility’s thermal insulation credentials. The overall orientation of the building envelope provides advantageous shelter to the adjacent sports field, protecting users from prevailing coastal winds.

The stunning north façade has been created using the Hastings 550 front glazed plant on system from Alspec. As a front glazed system, the Hastings 550 is robust and versatile while contributing to the architectural appeal of the building. Front glazing maximises internal areas while delivering a flush, modern appearance intended for the northern façade. It can accommodate a range of glass thicknesses (4mm-12.4mm) and is easy to fabricate and install.

Alspec’s ecoFRAMEplus 101.6mm centre pocket double glazed framing – ideal for providing natural light while enhancing insulation – was used for the southern façade. With excellent energy efficiency properties, ecoFRAMEplus is a versatile choice that can accommodate the same range of glass thicknesses as the Hastings system. With its ratings for WER, acoustics, BAL-40, cyclone and AS2047 compliance, the 101.6 ecoFRAMEplus draws on its centre pocket construction for strength and performance credentials.

Photography: John Gollings