SITE Architecture Studio’s design for the redevelopment of Hale Junior School in Perth aims to realise its vision of ‘Prepare, Teach and Connect’.
Following an extensive master planning process, it was clear the original 1960’s school buildings needed to be rebuilt to meet the vision and future needs of the school. A new pre-primary facility was also needed and the capacity of the lower junior had to increase to accommodate double stream learning.
The masterplan is drawn from the existing landscape and analysis of the site in which there is an established processional connection from the administration entry through the school including the: new early learning and Pre-Primary Hub, 2 stream Middle and 3 stream Upper Junior primary learning environments and the senior campus. Using this established language, the historical junior school courtyard has been reinterpreted by the new masterplan into a new campus green defined by a continuous curved colonnade.
SITE worked in close consultation with the Hale Junior School leadership team to develop solutions that would support the implementation of the pedagogy of ‘Prepare, Teach and Connect’ where the students’ education is equally structured around the three integrated modes of learning.
“SITE carefully and skilfully encouraged us to articulate our educational vision for the future. Being a boys’ school, SITE probed our thinking around boy responsive education and what this would look like in a 21st century school,” says Alex Cameron, head of Hale Junior School.
Students first prepare for learning through high-intensity physical activity (Prepare) before being taught (Teach) an education program based around sciences, humanities, literature, and mathematics. Students are provided with the opportunity to work independently and collaboratively to apply skills learned to project-based work and assignments (Connect).
The new Junior school consists of 5 new buildings – lower, middle and senior junior school learning hubs, a new Administration Building, and a new Resource Centre which are sited within the existing Arcadian landscape synonymous with Hale School.
Each learning hub consists of a cluster of General Learning spaces, adjoining a voluminous multi-purpose break-out space reminiscent of a market hall, which has technological capability to allow each space to act as classroom, group-work space or peer-to-peer learning hub around the curricular concept of Prepare, Teach, Connect.
The flexibility of the design outcome has been profound for the school. Every day is different and continually illuminates different spatial configurations as the teachers learn what is possible. The breakout space was conceived as a market hall for each hub. A place for celebration, display, group activities, music, and drama noise. Learning areas open through glass sliders between rooms and the break-out space. Smaller withdrawal areas provide safe ‘cubbies’ for the boys with subtle connections to the external learning area.
These elements such as larger, flexible spaces with cooking facilities and smaller rooms/spaces for staff and students emerged from the wish poems early in the briefing process. They also support the Prepare:Teach:Connect philosophy.
SITE’s renewed design concept provides a strengthened relationship between learning and landscape, to the extent of creating seamless transitions between internal and external teaching spaces and creating passive and active outdoor learning environments around formal and informal landscapes that support and encourage boy responsive education.
The architecture takes cues from the brick history of the school by literally creating foundations from which new journeys and pathways emerge, referenced through the use of patterned and articulated brickwork. This important connection with the past is symbolically strengthened through a concrete mural depicting Hale junior boys both past and present. Although the buildings have changed, the traditional values and foundation of the school remain.
To complement and highlight SITE’s design, the practice chose Shaw Contract’s
Mindful Play & Color Frame Color Form collections for the flooring. The Mindful Play carpet tile collection is made for lively interaction between people and spaces and embodies the idea of play in workplaces and education spaces.
SITE chose Mindful Play for a number of reasons: the triangular pattern of the carpet tile resembled the roof line of the school, and the geometric forms with accent colours created pops of colour and movement. The collection also gave SITE the ability to brand each learning pod and other spaces within the school in a different colour, thanks to the range of vivid colours available. Mindful Play also comes in greys and neutral tones which are perfect for the more formal spaces, offices and administration areas within the building.
Key styles and colours of Mindful Play are available for immediate despatch from Australian stock. Door to floor, Shaw Contract fast tracks design for projects that demand fast turnarounds without compromising creativity.
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