Building Designers Association of Victoria Media Release, 2017
The burgeoning student body at Moama Anglican Grammar School was pushing the capacity of the existent school facilities to the limit. A new library and expanded administration space were needed. According to Gerard Brandrick from Brandrick Architects, the school wanted to achieve an “exceptional first impression”, outside and in, with a new reception area and boardroom. The new library also needed to make a visual impact as well as optimise functionality in technology and meeting and classrooms to create a first-rate learning environment and a “competitive edge for the school”.
Located in the Riverina district of southern New South Wales, the school sits on a generous relatively flat site with current buildings dotting the expanse. A key focus of this project was to ensure that the new building linked the staff, reception and student zones to facilitate easier access to reception areas; connected outlying classrooms with the library; and enhanced passive student and ground supervision. “Linking all these spaces maximises useability and functionality of the school,” says Gerard.
Designing the new complex around a courtyard ensured all zones were orientated to capture natural light and imbue the interior with an open and inviting ambience. The raked ceiling in the library brings a sense of drama to this busy space as well as filling it with natural light. Shading or screening windows reduce glare.
Varied ceiling heights and floor and wall finishes create visual pathways through the zones. Multi-hued and textured timber finishes on furniture, light fittings, internal window beading, ceilings and a tessellated reception area wall create visual interest and a sense of comfort and continuity throughout. Gloss finishes on the timber additionally serve to channel more light into working spaces. Glazed brickwork in school colours integrates ‘branding’ and promotes school identity externally. The drop off and pick up zone is demarcated by a perforated steel screen that also incorporates the school logo. ‘Behind the scenes’ it functions as a safe student waiting area, providing shelter from rain and sun and easy access into and out of vehicles; from the street it’s the stand-out feature of the main entrance.
This rejuvenated school offers students a place of comfortable flowing spaces that are well-supervised and aesthetically engaging in which to enjoy their school years.