Michael Harris, Brett Boardman Photography, MarcusClinton
WMK’s challenge was to reinvent the notion of what a school building should be and deliver a built environment that delivers for the client’s far-reaching vision for a new learning paradigm that fosters self-directed learning culture in a dynamic multi-modal environment.
WMK collaborated closely with Northern Beaches Christian School’s visionary principal and leading educators to understand the multi-modal learning paradigm pioneered by NBCS and how the built environment could help shape a new culture for learning.
WMK’s competition-winning design solution comprises a sequence of multi-level pavilion buildings sitting beneath a spectacular 3,000 sqm intelligent ‘living’ canopy structure which generates energy, harvests rainwater and cools the spaces below.
The pavilions accommodate interactive learning spaces, science laboratory and student support facilities and the main reception and administration. A separate canteen with ‘treehouse’ seating platform above, forms the centrepiece of the project.
Balconies, seating nodes, oversized steps, and timber platforms enabled with wireless technology allow for endless configurations for performing, learning and studying beneath the canopy. The centrally-located cafeteria pavilion creates a meeting place for students, teachers, parents and visitors alike and the outdoor stage and large screens complete the active, adaptable heart of the school.
Sustainability initiatives, including automated window ventilation, deliver beyond carbon saving and economic benefits, to impact on a social level by engaging students in monitoring the resource efficiencies including waste, and leading the ‘new normal’ through active learning.
In 2016, the project won the Milo Dunphy Award for Architecture in the NSW Australian Institute of Architects Awards, as well as a Good Design Award.