The Commonwealth Government's
Building the Education Revolution (BER) programme motivated the School to move
forward its plans for expansion, fulfilling crucial needs for additional
classrooms, library together with music and art rooms.
A number of options
for expansion of the School building and playgrounds were considered well
before the advent of the BER program, including options to purchase adjoining
parcels of land; reconfiguration of areas and uses within the current curtilage
amongst others. Following the examination it was resolved to increase the bulk
on the upper levels within the 'L' shaped footprint to accommodate additional
classrooms, library, music room and ancillary facilities. Other core elements
of the brief included site and building accessibility and refurbishment of the
existing ground floor including lobby and main entry.
The aims and
objectives of the design brief included the need to ameliorate and enrich the
School environment primarily for the children that inhabit the space; to
adaptively reuse the school building while having minimal impact on the
heritage significance of the adjoining Church and hall complex and its setting,
bringing together a history of renovations into a cohesive aesthetic. The
adapted building should respect and retain the heritage significance of the
group while adding a contemporary layer that provides value for the future.
Project Relevance & Complexity
As the existing
school was out dated being built in the 1960's, it was important to bring the
architectural aesthetic into the modern day and in turn create a vibrant space
for the students to explore. This was achieved by simplifying the forms and
sheathing the expanded building with a contemporary façade of pre-finished
panels and windows. The resulting form is iconic in nature drawing interest
from pedestrian traffic through its colourful 'building block' design. The
exterior appearance was translated internally by integrating furniture in line
with the external 'building block's and window openings.
As the School plays
a major role in the community by providing areas for community use, spaces were
required to be multi-functional to allow a number of uses including book fairs,
ballet, fates, musicals amongst many other activities. This included spatial
reconfiguration of playgrounds to make efficient use of the spaces available
and provide a setting for the building.
building existing technology was replaced with efficient modern systems that
reduced energy consumption and provided interaction for the school children.
The Wahroonga School is nestled in a highly significant State heritage listed
group of buildings. This required close collaboration with the Heritage Branch
of the Department of Planning to seek approval of the contemporary design so
that it suited the setting and provided a long lasting solution for the site.