VitraPanel was the cladding material of choice for the interior walls of the new building constructed for the Plenty Campus of Ivanhoe Grammar School.

A co-educational school established in Ivanhoe in 1920, Ivanhoe Grammar School is set in a native landscape, with the original buildings laid out in the heart of the campus. Newer additions to the campus have come up in diverse architectural styles.

Architecture firm McBride Charles Ryan was engaged to design the new Science and Senior Years Centre, with the brief requiring a variety of general learning areas, workspaces for the senior year teachers, and a science centre for the younger students in the school. A circular shaped plan was adopted for the building. However, instead of using a radial pattern to align with the circular form, the architects decided to overlay an angular geometry, defining the central courtyards, the light wells and various learning spaces.

In contrast to the building’s circular plan, the angular geometry highlights key entry points and distinguishes between the outer and inner environments. During the configuration of these learning spaces, the architects focussed on characteristics such as transparency between spaces, spatial types, interconnectivity, multiple-use, and flexibility and adaptability of the learning spaces.

While the lower levels of the building accommodate multiple-use teaching spaces, the upper levels have been allocated for science, with staff workstations and outdoor informal gathering spaces for students provided throughout the complex.

Key features of the $9.15-million construction include reinforced concrete floors, band beams supported by concrete and steel columns, steel framed roofing, Colorbond Longline for the outer cladding, and VitraPanel wall panels for the inner cladding. Glue laminated Queensland spotted gum has been used to create the exterior shading fins. Double glazed and thermally broken aluminium windows as well as high quality acoustic glazed doors complete the material choices.

VitraPanel, available from CSP Architectural, is a prefinished compressed fibre cement panel with a high quality durable ceramic-like surface that offers resistance to graffiti, chemicals and pollution. The low maintenance VitraPanel is a long lasting wall panel that can be applied on external facades and internal wall systems.

These wall panels are recommended for commercial and residential facades, schools, hospitals, train stations, shopping centres and various infrastructure projects among many other applications.