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Leading with colour: Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years and Science Centre

Leading with colour: Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years and Science Centre


A strong use of colour was the guiding design principle for the Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years and Science Centre, with architects McBride Charles Ryan playing with pattern and shape.

The brief for this new school building in Melbourne included a variety of general learning areas, provision for the senior year teachers and a science centre. The circular shaped plan has a civic quality based on the school’s original masterplan, however, rather than repeating the circular pattern inside, the designers chose to use geometry and colour to define the central courtyards, light wells and learning spaces.

The interior of the science centre

“The sharp angles and vivid colours of the interior form a dramatic contrast with the round form and muted tones of the drum-like outer structure,” say the architects. “At key entry points, the drum is ‘eroded’ to reveal the wonders of science and learning expressed through this vibrant design.”

Geometric shapes

The design was inspired by the idea of an eggshell hiding an inner core, and by kaleidoscopes, where a view inside reveals seemingly infinite combinations of colour and pattern.

Students congregate on the stairs

“The classic circular form represents the order and certainty of knowledge, while the building’s expressive and complex inner world represents the uncertainty of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of wonder and imagination to see us through, add the architects.

The muted tones of the drum-like outer structure

Photography by John Gollings


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