Lightning Reef Primary School and Early Learning Centre
P-6 Primary School and 0-5 years 90 place Early Learning Centre co-located on the existing Comet Hill Primary Site to make Lightning Reef.
Gray Puksand Architects
Holmes Road Bendigo, VIC 3550 Australia
Lightning Reef provided the opportunity to use the intimate knowledge of the templates to create a whole school, rather than an infill building amongst existing facilities as occurred in the majority of BER projects. A strong feature of the templates was the ability to create spaces between the buildings, the external learning spaces of as much importance as the internal environments. The space and formal relationship between buildings located around a central courtyard or ‘agora’ enabled the full potential of the templates to be realised.
During the workshop process a number of desired outcomes were established and were incorporated into the master planning:
• The presence of an integrated learning community.
• Provision of a single public point of entry with logical access to both the primary school and ELC.
• Provide visual connection and surveillance between all buildings including the ELC outdoor areas.
• Integrate the landscape as an extension of the external learning and play environments.
• The ability to share facilities, physical and visual connection between the Primary School and ELC. Further promote staff interaction and communication to enable vertical knowledge of children’s development as they grow through these facilities.
• Incorporation of a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen and garden and incorporate the philosophies of understanding where food comes from and how to consume it in a healthy way.
Lightning Reef Landscape (Mary Jeavons Landscape Architect Statement)
The central courtyard forms the heart of the school landscape, and provides a focal gathering space for larger groups. The seamless circulation system leads to a series of other activity areas such as the hard courts and ball games area, the Stephanie Alexander inspired kitchen garden, the oval, and creative/imaginative play spaces. Hedges, paving and paths define a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ across the grounds, providing smaller scale spaces suited to smaller groups and outdoor learning spaces.
The vegetable garden has been designed to highlight the plants not only for their use in cooking, but for their sensory and aesthetic qualities. This is aligned with the Stephanie Alexander principles.
The Early Learning Centre provides a rich play-based learning environment catering for toddlers to five year olds, and utilising predominantly natural materials.