Project DescriptionFROM MCBRIDE CHARLES RYAN:
The key characteristics of the learning spaces were transparency, variety of spatial type, multiple-use, flexibility, adaptability, and interconnectivity between the learning spaces and to the outside environment.
The circular shaped plan form was adopted for the building; this shape had an appropriate civic quality which built upon the schools original masterplan. However, rather than adopting a circular or radial pattern we choose to overlay an angular geometry. This geometry was used to define the central courtyards, the light wells and a mosaic of learning spaces. This geometry contrasts with the buildings circular shape, highlighting key entry points and providing a distinction between the outer world (singular, civic, circular, executed in a muted landscape palate) and the inner world (complex, dynamic, expressive & colorful).
The contrast so evident in this building’s language encapsulates the contemporary methodologies for a well-rounded education. The circular form is classical, representing order, and the certainty of knowledge – the building’s inner world, with its expressive and complex mosaic of spaces, represents the uncertainty and complexity of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of the qualities of wonder and imagination to see us through.
The building is designed to blur the distinction between the inside and the outside environment. The learning spaces have been configured to generally maximize both light and shading through upper level walkways. Large, easily operated sliding doors are included to encourage the staff to maintain connectivity between the inside and outside and reduce the reliance on conditioned air. Most spaces are configured so as to maximize the opportunities for cross ventilation to the learning areas. The exterior shell is shaded through vertical fins and the window size modified to respond to its immediate context and orientation. The external fabric of the building is heavily insulated. Materials chosen are robust and not reliant on regular maintenance regimes.