Willunga High School
In 2008 Willunga High School was allocated capital works funding for a new Middle School area consisting of 12 classrooms, upgrading of all learning areas, demolition of timber buildings and extensive landscaping.
Mark Wiltshire – Wiltshire and Swain
239 Main Road, Willunga, South Australia 5172
Deb O’Riley, Department for Education and Child Development
Ashley Turner – Bridgehead
The brief was to design a 21st century middle school learning environment that provided opportunities for personalised learning, new technologies, flexible spaces and utilising the assets of Willunga High School environments. Rather than being a container for the activities within, the built form was to become an integrated tool for learning. Design workshops investigated ideas such as The Da Vinci Studio where the ‘lines between subjects and disciplines become blurry’. The Einstein Studio where ‘creative reflection and inspired collaboration’ are encouraged and the Jamie Oliver Studio, where the outdoor environment and a classroom with ‘soft edges’ provides for ‘hands on learning.’ (Fielding, Lackney& Prakash,2006) Together the school community and the architect designed a place where students could feel that they were engaged in their learning, that they were connected to their learning community and had places to play/learn and be “kids”, learning from each other, teachers and their environment. Two buildings were developed, each containing 6 General Learning Areas directly accessed from a central studio. This 5 meter high volume is a meeting space, a circulation space and a teaching space. The buildings themselves contain a variety of learning spaces that can be tailored to different learning modalities. Each classroom is ‘twinned’ with another. They are connected via sliding acoustic doors allowing team teaching. Each classroom also has an external ‘seminar room’ accessed via glazed café doors. The design has incorporated interactive technologies, environmental awareness through monitoring of water in tanks, indoor/outdoor learning spaces through the use of café doors which are opened so that students can move outside to platforms and deck areas for small group work. The facilities have provided opportunities to change the traditional “ways of working” through collaborative communication utilising the garden areas as outdoor classrooms connected to the indoor classrooms, the atrium area is used as a communal learning and gathering space to promote different ways of working and collaboration and a sense of community.