Westbourne Grammar School – Prep to Year 2 Facility
Croxon Ramsay Architects
Westbourne Grammar School, 300 Sayers Road Truganina
The Winjeel P-2 Facility for Westbourne Grammar builds upon a recently completed Early Learning Centre. The building accommodates 3 years groups connected by a central piazza broadly modeled on the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
The Winjeel P-2 Facility for Westbourne Grammar builds upon a recently completed Early Learning Centre. Though the physical connection between buildings is for staff only, the siting of the new P-2 facility adjacent to the ELC responds to the broader campus masterplan and creates an important familiarity for the young students as they graduate from one building to the next.
At its inception, two key factors were instrumental in shaping the project. The first, and overarching consideration was to provide an architectural response to compliment the school’s Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, the second was a benchmarking tour of other recently completed P-2 facilities, creating a frame of reference that allowed the client to ‘fit’ their aspirations and also understand the various successes and failures encountered with ‘open plan’ teaching model.
To achieve a facility which supported this, the planning process was somewhat inverted, with the smallest (yet most critical) component, the individual ‘learning space’, was developed first. Importantly, each of these individual units have been designed with a carefully sited and architecturally detailed ‘group space’, a comfortable zone within each classroom for smaller group or collaborative project work.
The learning spaces were then arranged in a triptych around a central ‘studio’, essentially a dedicated wet area where students can come together across classes to collaborate. The ‘studios’ connect the three classrooms with elaborately detailed joinery units that allow students to store work and see through to the other spaces, creating a subtle definition of the classroom extents without sealing each room hermetically.
Finally, the three ‘cohorts’ of studios and classrooms representing each year levels were organised around a lofty central piazza space, a space which holds an important function in the Reggio Emilia philosophy to providing an area for gathering and for welcome. The potentially soulless void over the internalized piazza has been molded with a series of sweeping bulkheads lined in warm natural plywood finishes. These forms hover over the entrances to each year level’s set of classrooms, providing another distinct yet subtly defined space for student to gather under without having to build walls.