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Hayball reimagines social infrastructure using joint-use model

Hayball reimagines social infrastructure using joint-use model


Australian design practice Hayball has delivered two joint-use education projects in New South Wales that create demonstrable value for the communities they serve: Hilltops Young High School Library and Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College.

Well known for its work in the education sector, Hayball’s focus on designing for long-term social value has seen them collaborate with state and local government, private schools, educators and community representatives to reimagine different learning spaces.

Hilltops Young High School Library
Hilltops Young High School Library by Hayball

Hayball principal and NSW studio lead Dave Tordoff says the practice is driven to understand the impact design has on people and communities. 

“It is an intuitive design mindset that has, and continues to, inform our approach to integrating culture, community and learning across the built environment,” says Tordoff.

Joint-use projects have provided Hayball with opportunities to bring different groups together to learn from each other, while also allowing users to benefit from access to more extensive spaces than those offered by separate projects with singular budgets.

Hilltops Young High School
Hilltops Young High School Library
Is the future joint-use?

Joint-use describes school facilities that are shared with the broader community. According to Tordoff, these types of projects are increasingly being encouraged.

“They open a myriad of learning opportunities for growing diverse communities,” he explains.

“Working with Dr Julia Atkin from Learning by Design, we have estimated that a traditional school facility might be in use for approximately 1400 hours per year compared to a community library facility, which is more frequently used for around 3000 hours per year.”


Hayball’s work on Hilltops Young High School Library, a unique project in New South Wales, has merged what were once separate public and school libraries into a holistic community learning hub that places education, the arts, technology, culture and wellbeing facilities under the one roof. 

Hilltops Young High School Library

Completed in April 2023 for School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) and Hilltops Council, and delivered with Joss Constructions, the project goes beyond mere co-location, allowing for true joint-use of facilities at all times of the day.

The Hilltops Young High School Library connects deeply to Wiradjuri Country and the site’s historic setting, which was the location of the 1861 Lambing Flats riots. Facilities provided include a Wiradjuri learning centre and extensive community facilities such as an art gallery, wellbeing consulting, tertiary study, presentation space and meeting rooms, visual arts, multimedia and maker spaces, a café and more.

joint-use project

Hayball collaborated with Young High School, Hilltops Council, Learning by Design director Dr Julia Atkin and Michael Mossman, the Associate Dean of Indigenous Strategy and Services at the University of Sydney, for extensive consultations with local Elders to ensure the project could meet the needs of its intended users, and be reflective of the broader community.

“In designing for joint-use, we needed to consider ‘what are the things that this community does not have, that the school might provide, and what are the things that the school does not have, that the community might provide?’” says Dr. Atkin.

“The new library building has given the Hilltops area exciting new opportunities for community growth and lifelong learning, which is unique to the region. Derived from comprehensive consultations with designers, council and the local community, we were able to offer seamless access to a range of resources and learning spaces, previously unseen, while forging a sense of identity to align with the site’s First Nations and European histories.”

joint-use Hayball
Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College

Hayball’s core ethos of designing for enhanced social value was also brought to the new Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College, located in Sydney’s North. 

Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College
Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College

Here, Hayball was engaged to create a visionary 50-year masterplan. They were to establish learning precincts throughout the site to connect the learning landscape with the history of the heritage-listed site and the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney, who established the college with an ethos of social justice and service.

“For many years Monte students have been inspired by the Sisters of Mercy to undertake a series of outreach programs as part of the Colleges’ extensive Social Justice Program. The need for a Social Enterprise Centre was born out of this incredible work,” says Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College principal Nicole Christiansen.

Monte Sant’ Angelo College

Housed within the College’s new six-storey Sports, Sports Science and Science Building designed by Hayball, the Social Enterprise Centre features an innovation workshop where goods are designed, a pitch space where ideas are considered and prototypes tested, and a ‘fab lab’ where goods are manufactured. 

These spaces all link back to a Fair Trade café, where the ethical goods created by the College are displayed and sold. 

Scientia Terrace

“We know that when a site can offer a seamless experience of mixed-use design it enriches a user’s experience physically, emotionally and socially,” says Tordoff.

“It’s always rewarding to observe how our education projects including libraries, student hubs and specialised learning centres increase student and staff creativity and sense of belonging because they are inspiring places where people feel comfortable to interact and connect.”

Scientia Terrace at Monte Sant’ Angelo College joint-use project

Photography by Martin Mischkulnig.

Read Gerald Matthews’ take on the role of architecture and aesthetics for education.


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