Architecture: Eltham College Prep & Multi-Purpose Building

Oct 25, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Matthew Mallett, Will Belcher
  • Designer
  • Architect ClarkeHopkinsClarke

Located at Eltham College of Education’s Research Campus, the new Prep and Multi-Purpose Building provides vibrant, open plan and flexible learning spaces that can accommodate a variety of different uses and activities. The building draws together three distinct elements: a ground level multi-purpose space, open plan learning spaces on the upper level, and a gallery/access zone.

Centrally positioned between the Early Learning Centre, Discovery Centre and Primary School building, the ground floor multi-purpose space draws together the Primary School pupils – providing accessible, flexible facilities for all students. Defined by a palette of charcoal tones with lively splashes of orange, this space serves as a strong foundation and support for the prep teaching space above.

A folded canopy in vibrant orange frames the building’s main entry, opening up to the muted tones of the main circulation zone within. The access zone is designed as a gallery space that creates an interface between the two levels, articulated by a feature staircase with sculptural plywood balustrade. On the upper level, the open plan prep learning spaces feature playful greens which are echoed in the façade, celebrating and highlighting the presence of the youngest and often most timid students in the school community.

The application of ESD principles in the design has enabled the creation of a light-filled and healthy learning environment, which will assist in the promotion and understanding of sustainable practices within the school community. Passive ESD initiatives include orientation and planning that allows for diffused natural light to enhance the internal learning environments, eaves and overhangs to provide shading during summer and allow light and warmth inside during winter, and sensor operated lights to increase energy efficiency. This new facility promotes the identity of the school as an independent and forward thinking institution, and sets the tone for future works.

Team Project Director: Justin Littlefield, Project Architect: Fei Chau, Interior Designer: Lauren Munro

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