The process of ‘Re-imagining’ the Woodleigh School learning environments, required a deep understanding of “The Woodleigh Way”; the values and philosophy underpinning the schools origins. Opened in the 70’s, on a 20 hectare recently classified ‘Land for Wildlife’ bush property on the Mornington Peninsula, it is an Independent progressive school with an emphasis on independent thought.
Homesteads form the core of student life and underpin their unique model of Teaching and Learning- each building, a learning home for 70 plus students across years 7-10. The time for new Homesteads had arrived. A lengthy process of stakeholder engagement, and brief analysis was undertaken to ensure the spaces embody and foster Woodleigh values in their built form.
Fundamental to the programmatic working of the homesteads is the school’s motto “There is no growth without struggle”. The spaces are required to perform in many guises, challenging old and new teaching and learning approaches, whilst simultaneously instilling a collegial sense of belonging and ownership. The internal planning teamed with sliding walls and partitioning curtains generate a variety of contemporary learning settings. These settings facilitate and further the educational demands held by the school’s curriculum: connected, collaborative, varied, personalised and environmentally-focussed learning. The concurrent workshopping and analysis carried out by The University of Melbourne’s LEARN Group research body, ensured the school’s pedagogical intent was manifested in the new Homestead’s planning and design.
The tactile nature of the materials - rammed earth, spotted gum timber, exposed concrete floors and rock – allow the bold gestures of the soaring truss roof, solid mass walls and folded iron spouts, to sit harmoniously within the landscape. Passively designed for controlled solar gain and natural ventilation, the students are encouraged to learn to ‘sail’ the buildings, making choices about where and when they inhabit spaces, learning inside or out.
The Woodleigh Homestead Project was created in collaboration with:
Woodleigh School - Client Lloyd Group - Builder Sam Cox Landscapes Calibre - Structural & Civil Engineers Cundall - Services Engineer Duncan Scott - Project Manager