St Mary of the Cross Primary School Beehive
Commendation: Category 5 Education Initiative or Design Solution for an Innovative Program
Carrick Street, Saltwater Estate Point Cook, Victoria 3030 Australia
$ 4679.108 + GST
Peter Clarke Photography
This project embodies a decade of pedagogical thinking and learning at Baldasso Cortese, bringing together current ideas in contemporary learning, community engagement, sustainability and technology to create a 21 century school for children that is a “Community Hub”. Our goal was to create a fun engaging learning environment that students would want to come to everyday.
This new school represents the 1st step in a master plan developed in 2012 and sets an architectural and pedagogical precedent. An inclusive design process with the Catholic Education Office; Parish and School community has led to the creation of a large learning environment interconnected with specialist spaces and outdoor learning areas.
The creation of a large Modern Learning Environment accommodating 250 students provides challenges in creating appropriately scaled spaces, cost effective and efficient construction. An intentionally irregular floor plan has been achieved within a rational portal frame structure providing a variety of spaces internally that features large openings to achieve a highly porous learning environment without losing the sense of intimacy and fun. The overall transparency between spaces connects learners and creates a great sense of community. Each learning space has direct access to the 5 shared activity spaces. Multiple connections link interior to contained exterior learning spaces in all directions.
Our holistic design approach from the start was to ground the school and its facilities into the psyche of the new community and give them a sense of belonging and identity we have done this through the use of metaphors of water (Port Philip Bay) and market gardens in the design of the building and spaces within. The design of the ‘Beehive’ was originally inspired by fishing ‘Cray Pots’ which upon opening of the facility the students immediately related the form to a ‘Beehive’ with its elliptical perforated form and yellow colour.
The “Bee Hives” are a focus within the 2 learning areas, creating opportunity for staff to teach in and around the beehive or choose to send students to work in groups and or individually. The transparency of the “Bee Hives maintains connectivity with rest of the learning community. The structures are playful and give scale to an otherwise large voluminous learning environment.
School is welcoming and warm with a material palette that provides a serene backdrop to vibrantly coloured student works and furniture; deeper hues in combination with expansive glazing enhance transparency through the facility. The extensive pin-boards play a key role in the widespread acoustic treatment, applied to walls, floors and ceilings, which is essential in blended learning spaces.
Our goal is to develop the Beehive Joinery into elements that inform and define future learning spaces. It is important to create learning environments which are appropriate, fun, playful and engaging for children.