Site Tour Meadows Primary School
04 Dec 2012
“The community of Broadmeadows have embraced the new school with open arms. The School...is an adaptable place to teach, learn and to support families.”
The community of Broadmeadows have embraced the new Meadows Primary School and ELC. Since opening at the start of the 2011 school year, the School has delivered measurable improvements in education results, community integration and environmental performance. The School has noted that "student learning outcomes [and] student behaviour have improved markedly. Vandalism has virtually stopped [and] family involvement has noticeably increased."
The site was formerly home to Meadowbank Primary School, which was merged with Campmeadows PS to form this new learning community as part of the former Victorian Labour Government's initiative to transform educational outcomes in Broadmeadows. NOWarchitecture responded to the challenge to innovate and inspire a community.
The need to create an innovative and inspiring School within a standard construction budget inspired a modular solution. Each module is grown from four internal 'tree' columns which branch out to support the softly folded roof. The internal volumes are high and generous, creating a feeling of openness and a wide variety of zoneable spaces. The teachers "have expressed how good the learning areas are for teaching [and found them] very easy to adapt to."
Below the tree-canopy, a variety of Learning Areas are created by reading nooks, staff pods and bespoke mobile furniture.
Sheltered outdoor courtyards are created around the Learning Areas by stepping and sculpting the modules. The largest of these is the central courtyard which provides a protected inner sanctum and includes part of the extensive Kitchen Gardens.
The Gymnasium and Performing Arts Centre is a critical gathering space and icon for the community. Its translucent walls create a naturally bright space by day and glow as a proud civic beacon by night.
Experiential learning is written into the School itself. The expressed structures present an understanding of engineering; transparent downpipes show the water cycle; prominently located wind turbines and photovoltaic panels demonstrate renewable energy sources; and changing seasons are observable in the gardens and solar-calendar.
NOWarchitecture's unique passive hydrothermal air conditioning system provides excellent thermal comfort and air quality with energy inputs 75% lower than typical systems. The natural convention created by hot air rising and exiting through clerestory windows pulls fresh air in through floor grilles, which has been cooled in the sub-floor water tanks.
The building is registered for a Green Star Education rating, targeting a 6 star rating. Sustainable design elements include on site renewable PV and wind turbines generating 22,100 kWh/ year, plantation timber structures, kitchen gardens, creekbed to increase site permeability, 720,000 litres of rainwater storage, low-e glazing, natural stone and low energy lighting.
The community of Broadmeadows have embraced the new school with open arms. The School successfully connects education with community and is an adaptable place to teach, learn and to support families. Through design excellence, the School will continue to grow with its community.