Brighton Catholic Primary School
Set in the secondary dunes of the coast north of Perth, this school was designed over five stages. Slavin Architects initially won an Ideas Competition for the greenfields site, which then developed into a set of Guiding Principles that led the school’s physical development and shaped the school ethos.
Slavin Architects Pty Ltd
I1051 Connolly Drive, Butler WA 6036
Brighton Catholic Primary School is situated in Butler, an outer northern suburb of Perth. Construction was undertaken over five stages – the first two stages were amalgamated as the suburb experienced a population surge. The school consists of 12 GPLAs, Library, Administration, undercover area and five K/PP centres. Slavin Architects were promised a greenfields site, but the reality was a decimated site of overzealous clearing. Buildings are north facing with no openings on the east or west, and with wide verandas on the northern side. Ventilation is provided through south windows and out through the northern windows. The energy performance of the facilities has been highly successful. Thermal glazing and high levels of insulation ensure that the heating is rarely used. Perth’s coastal environment creates issues with corrosion. Slavin Architects ensured that metal-on-metal occurrences were minimised. There are no roof penetrations and gutters were not used; instead stormwater beds filled with the fines-free concrete absorb precipitation directly off the roof. Acoustic planning includes non-parallel walls, ceilings and floors to reduce reverberation. Interiors are furnished with acoustic-rated ceilings and large amounts of pin-up space. This has had two effects; windows remain clear to be opened and to permit natural light. They also offer the chance for teachers to personalise a room quickly and distinctively. The soft form of the roofs mirrors the slightly undulating landform. Paths follow contours, rather than retaining and steps. The landscape has been a challenge, with little in the budget to improve it. However the school committed to planting large trees, predominantly London Plane trees. Their deciduous habit ensures that they contribute to the environmental performance of the facility. Built over five stages, the facilities needed to be flexible for change over the school’s evolution. As the school administration facilities were not built to stage 3, a classroom was used as an Administration area for the first three years. Brighton Catholic Primary School can cater for over 500 students.