Barker College, Junior School New Learning Cohorts
The New Learning Cohorts at Barker College Junior School involved the expansion and update of the existing Junior School facilities to accommodate growth to 4 streams across years 3 to 6 in a forward thinking learning environment, without losing the character of the campus.
pmdl Architecture + Design
College Crescent Hornsby, NSW 2077 Australia
Part of the School’s Masterplan, a brief was developed which encompassed the expansion and update of the existing Junior School to accommodate 4 streams across years 3 to 6 in a contemporary learning environment. The brief called for connected and visible learning spaces supported by a variety of learning setting scaled spaces such as seminar spaces, common space and external “homebases”.
The existing building fabric was reviewed and either refurbished or added to, to create connected learning cohorts and reduce “corridor” circulation. Over two levels homebases are interconnected, highly visible and open to shared common spaces, organised in year cohorts of four “homebases”. Generous circulation provides for learning extension spaces and strong connections to outdoor spaces.
The general ambition was to move away from homebases off corridors to collaborative year cohorts (neighborhoods), maintaining the “homebase” as a “family unit”, all within the identity of the Junior School on the main campus. The central core of the learning cohorts is an open and shared space linking both levels and providing opportunities for individual, class, year and whole school activities. This will be further enhanced when the next stage, still under construction, opens and provides new resource, specialist and enrichment spaces, all clustered around a central courtyard. Views between spaces, into and out of the building have been optimised in order to celebrate the learning and activities.
The Junior School Working Group charged with developing the brief and overseeing the design were integral with the process from commencement to completion, and embraced the opportunity to explore options for teaching and learning practice. Following completion of the design the project was signed off by the Special Projects Review Committee, Junior School Works Committee and Junior School staff and then presented extensively to the School and general community through presentation evenings, newsletters and the College website.
As a key part of the overall design, other stages, currently under construction, include new food and beverage “retail” as well as open plan collaborative learning and resource spaces contained within the refurbishment of the existing existing buildings.