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While only single storey the Year 7 and 8 learning communities to the south of the learning warehouse are planned so as to sit together like a village with a wonderful set of intersecting spaces between them while also creating a sculpted and active courtyard between themselves and the central warehouse buildings to the north.
To the east of the site area of all the buildings are the numerous courts and playing fields which create a buffer, through distance, to the freeway along with a generous mound at the site’s freeway boundary. A new primary school will be built to the college’s immediate south with the west of the site flanked by a road and a park and finally the north boundary facing a road and residential area.
All building are designed with automated passive energy systems which with excellent orientation, sunshading, insulation and water harvesting, have created a highly sustainable college campus.
The material palette of all buildings is based on the language of industry. A mix of light coloured precast concrete panels embossed with giant imprints of ‘chequer plate’ patterns are closely linked to an extensive use of aluminum chequer plate internally and externally, most of which is natural and silver and some painted with automotive paint in varying colours but predominantly vermillion. Roofs are steel with a series of orange, yellow, vermillion and charcoal stripes which continue onto walls, creating continuous bands in many locations.
Roofs are simple pitches, many with clerestory glazing. Container like boxed elements protrude at various locations and upper levels are also clad in metal cladding reminiscent of industrial factories and zones composed of warehouses, tilt up concrete, containers and sheds. The paving is designed with a large format charcoal and white stripe that marches its way through the campus. Detailing sees the use of exposed channels and beams which frame protruding elements and simply define building edges and the colour palette is basic and derived from the safety colour palette of industrial buildings and facilities. Chequer plate cladding is used to dado height through all internal corridors and spaces creating an extremely robust and always clean and shiny surface even when treated roughly much like the toolboxes found in factories and on the back of utes.
The landscape is simple and a mass planting of trees has been applied throughout the site (which was subject to major site rectification and remediation) in order to re-establish the rich density of trunks and foliage which typifies much of the bush landscape of Baldivis. Once the landscape is mature the school will be defined as a set of warehouses in an indigenous forest setting.
This wonderful school is now in the safe and creative hands of an extraordinary Principal and his outstanding team of teachers. The school has already won an AIA Architecture Award, Sustainability Award and CEFPI Australasian Education Facility Design Award and has recently been selected as a finalist in the completed schools category of the World Architecture Festival to be held in November 2015.