Grimshaw and BVN design NSW’s first high-rise public school

Feb 3, 2016
  • Article by Online Editor

Above image: Parramatta High School design, render courtesy Grimshaw Architects in association with BVN Architecture.

Concepts designed by Grimshaw and BVN Architecture for New South Wales’s first high-rise public secondary school have been released by the State Government.

A 14-storey tower will replace the current Arthur Phillip High School – one of the largest schools in the state. An adjacent five storey building will house the 1000-student Parramatta Public Primary School.

With Parramatta’s population constantly growing, and estimated to increase by over 14,000 by 2021, the size of schools will need to grow as a result. Arthur Phillip High School has recognised this, with the new building able to accommodate around 500 more students than the current facility.

Arguments against high-rise schools involve claims that building upward inherently results in students spending less time outside. However the ability to build up can often mean that more space remains on the school property for the development of outdoor play areas. This is seen in the designs for Parramatta Public Primary School’s new building, a U-shaped construction which will wrap around an outdoor play area much larger than the current school design allows for. The high school also features similar facilities, including outdoor learning terraces and two sport courts.

Parramatta High School_L
Arthur Phillip High School and Parramatta Public Primary School design, render courtesy Grimshaw Architects in association with BVN Architecture.

The schools have aimed to be future-focused, with six of the floors in the APHS building double the height of regular floors to allow for adaptability.

Premier Mike Baird has pledged $100 million toward the project, which is part of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s $1 billion Rebuilding NSW Schools Fund.

Grimshaw and BVN’s design won an international competition for the schools’ rebuild, with other entrants including Lyons, Architectus, Woods Bagot/3XN, and lahznimmo/Wilson Architects.

The development is aimed to be completed in 2019.

For further reading on the high-rise school trend, check out ADR’s Multi-Storey Schools on the Rise.

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