Our Lady of La Vang School
11 Malcolm Street Flinders Park Adelaide, South Australia 5025 Australia
Sarah Long – Longshot Photography
Our Lady of La Vang sets a new agenda in the configuration of space for unique and adaptable learning experiences for children with intellectual and physical disabilities through the use of ‘transition’ areas. Boundaries and barriers exist but are transparent, allowing a visual connection between indoor and outdoor learning opportunities.
Catering for the educational, physical, sensory and emotional needs of 63 students aged 5-20 years, Our Lady of La Vang is a new school adapted on a ‘recycled’ school site. Responding to the complex health and personal needs of many students, Our Lady of La Vang presents a unique and highly flexible learning environment through the key parameters of aesthetics, relationship of spaces, integration of existing buildings, flexibility and integration of spaces, acoustics, child safe environment and flexible external learning.
Developed on an extremely tight site, the school employs distinct Junior, Middle and Senior clusters around centrally shared facilities. Of significance are the series of transitions spaces that allow external covered spaces to be created instantly and without visible barriers, providing staff with learning environment options and students with the ability to interact with a highly tactile and visually stimulating landscape.
From a community perspective, the new school presents a series of sensitively scaled and massed building forms which use a rich and patterned red brick skin to evoke a residential scale and warmth. Any pretext of an institutionalised environment is eliminated through a palette of soft colour tones, graded canopies and walkways and a textured landscape offering diverse learning experiences.