The Tintern Schools Middle School
90 Alexandra Road Ringwood East , Victoria 3135 Australia
Centrally located, with a strong, central campus identity of two translucent linear pavilions projecting outward, the Middle Schools are Parallel Learning environments where girls and boys in Years 7-9 are separated for delivery of a tailored, gender-specific curriculum, to maximise learning potentials, with social interaction allowed out of class.
Centrally located, with a strong campus identity, the Middle Schools are Parallel Learning environments where girls and boys in Years 7-9 are formally separated for delivery of a tailored, gender-specific curriculum, to maximise learning potentials, with social interaction allowed out of class.
Carefully sited, amid mature trees on a gentle slope, two linear pavilions project outward as an expression of Parallel Learning. The School considers that the building concept – two wings, one for the boys and one for the girls, each with its own entrance – is a perfect representation of the Schools ‘ parallel learning model. The twin structures hover like translucent sheds, raised and cantilevered off concrete pilotis, to create permeable undercroft spaces that open and activate new visual, spatial and social connections – linking established, but un-joined, upper and lower paths with a new landscape spine.
Carefully planned to create separate spaces for each gender as well as opportunities for them to come together and interact, the new landscape at the centre of the School also offers eternal teaching space – along with rain garden, rock spine and ‘dry creek bed ‘ to soak up and disperse storm water.
Elevating the building has provided the School with a very usable undercover space that it didn ‘t even know it had.
A staff-only office bridges the upper level of the hovering parallel forms, offering passive surveillance outside and internal access to both wings. Staff, who teach across genders, travel between the two wings, maintaining a level of connection with and supervision of students.
Designed for interconnection, modular classrooms are single loaded from a wide corridor that also functions as break-out space. The cost-effective, light-filled interior is achieved with prefabricated translucent wall panels that provide ample, diffuse daylight while maintaining privacy (between girls and boys) and achieving high energy efficiencies and thermal performance. Operable windows offer controlled views and natural ventilation.
The budget and timeline was ambitious – solved with design and selection of materials, most prominently the translucent Kalwall. The building was designed to be constructed quickly and the Kalwall system allowed the external walls of the building to be completely erected within two weeks.