Noosa Flexible Learning Centre
Fulton Trotter Architects
WINNER CATEGORY 1: NEW CONSTRUCTION, ENTIRE NEW SCHOOL
2 Girraween Court Sunshine Beach , Queensland 4567 Australia
The Noosa Flexi Centre strives to create a non-institutional learning environment for disengaged young people. The informal nature of the learning spaces provides a welcoming environment for young people who have hitherto shunned the notion of “school “, whilst reinforcing the Network ‘s ethos of ‘respect, participation, safe and legal and honesty ‘.
The Noosa Flexible Learning Centre has been designed to provide a responsive and welcoming learning environment for young people who have not experienced success or inclusion in the regular school system. The need to create an ethos of engagement with the outside environment and the absence of rigid containment has been met through sensitivity to and protection of the existing flora and fauna, and the choice of connected airy pavilions in a village like configuration to emphasise community, responsibility and care.
The scale and design of these buildings and site appear ideal for the intended purpose. Consultation, programme development and evaluation processes are exemplary and there is positive attention to sustainability.
This is a remarkably appropriate response to a brief that deals with a complex and difficult educational context.
The Noosa Flexible Learning Centre for Edmund Rice Education Australia strives to create an alternative learning environment for disengaged and disenfranchised young people. The informal nature of the learning and gathering spaces provides a welcoming environment for the young people, while attempting to reinforce the Flexible Learning Centre Networks ethos of ‘respect, participation, safe and legal and honesty ‘.
This ethos is reflected in the design through the strong focus on passive sustainable design principles, including a unique approach to site based stormwater management through emulating the site ‘s natural hydrology, as well as significant ecological protection measures and the incorporation of sustainably sourced materials and conscious passive design. The design team and client considered these principles critical in instilling such ideals in the users of the spaces. All of this was achieved without adding to the overall project cost.
The site had significant ecological constraints (including native flora, fauna and bushfire issues) that required a consolidated response from the architects and consultant team (avoid, mitigate, offset) in order to retain significant groves of vegetation.
The arrangement of the buildings across the site avoids protected vegetation zones, and references the ‘beach shack ‘ typology of the area. The raised pavilion structures and boardwalks attempt to ‘touch the ground lightly ‘, while providing a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The pavilions all have a strong reference to the outdoors through large openings onto verandahs (functioning as breakout learning spaces) and the natural environment.
Sustainable resource material choices such as plantation grown plywood, oriented strand board and Paperock bench tops were chosen to create a predominantly raw and natural palette. Colour is introduced through various panelling, sun shades and acoustic fabric material to spark interest and encourage playfulness within the campus.
The project succeeds in delivering the client ‘s brief for an alternative, informal and non-institutional education facility that is welcoming to the young people who have hitherto shunned the notion of “school “.