“This project is seen as the first building of our masterplan for the school to allow for its foreseen future growth”, explains Smith & Tracey project lead architect Stasinos Mantzis. Founded in 1997, the current school is a mix of permanent and temporary classroom buildings. The newly built Year 7 and 8 center seeks to replace some of these temporary classrooms which were required due to rapid growth in student numbers as well as envelope over and around the existing science laboratory building on the site. “Apart from meeting the functional requirements of the brief, we wanted to design a building which expressed the aspirations of the school’s future and position within this new suburb as a public building”, explains Mantzis.
Smith & Tracey has extensive experience in the educational sector and providing future-proof design solutions adaptable to evolving trends in pedagogy in Australia. This particular building incorporates the recently completed existing labs to create twenty additional flexible classrooms, large breakout areas, a demonstration kitchen, offices and student facilities. These programs are designed in a horseshoe arrangement around a sun-filled, circular outdoor gathering space.
“The building underwent an evolutionary process, testing and discarding many form-making techniques”, the architect says. Each stage of the process was documented with 3D renderings to result in a determined and functional building. What also became clear from these discussions was the need to develop a dynamic architecture that would: “Engage the students with the built environment and challenge them that there might be more independent ways of learning.”