Meadows Primary School – “Growing Spaces, Branching Out”
Meadows Primary School connects education, community and environment. More than a place to engage in learning and teaching, this building supports its Community. For the first time in 10 years, a School in this community has no fences, no vandalism and incidents of poor behavior have dropped by 75%.
Judith North (NOWarchitecture) Ana Sala-Oviedo (New Learning Environments: Rubida Research)
Gerbert Street, Broadmeadows, Vic 3047
NOWarchitecture and New Learning Environments: Rubida Research
Hin Lim Photography
The new school facility was designed to 21st Century pedagogical concepts and is an icon that promotes an ethos of excellence and achievement within a standard budget. NOWarchitecture and NLE:RR embarked on a collaborative design process driven by a student centred perspective that extends to include parents and the wider community. Spaces reflect a commitment to life-long learning and the well-being of students and their families. The ELC provides a transition for young students entering the early years of schooling. School facilities support community ambitions. The Gymnasium by day transforms into a glowing Performing Arts Centre by night; the Welcome Space and Stephanie Alexander Kitchen in the morning become a catered Meeting room in the afternoon and Dining room in the evening; the Resource Library is accessible to parents for whom English is a second language. The Learning Areas support the needs of team-teaching and stage-related learning. Large spaces are created by the exposed timber structure, which evokes the tree of knowledge. Below the tree canopy the Learning Areas are ‘landscaped’ with reading nooks, staff pods and mobile furniture which add value beyond the Brief. Learning groups are interconnected through shared resources, Wet Areas and IT. The spaces facilitate self-directed student learning for students by providing choice, freedom and flexibility as well as providing rapid adaptability to future changes in learning and learning technologies. Collaborative learning settings promote social constructivism and support the collaboration required to successfully apply problem, project and inquiry based learning strategies. A sense of control over their learning spaces has increased student’s self esteem, decreased truancy and increased NAPLAN results. The buildings and their surrounds demonstrate sustainable design. Low-e glass, high thermal mass, wind turbines and photovoltaic panels, acoustic sensitivity and NOWarchitecture’s unique passive hydrothermal air-conditioning system provides high comfort and 76% energy cost savings. Learning spaces offer outdoor connections to further assist in the provision of authentic learning and removing misconceptions of the learning space as one of ‘containment’.