Wattle Glen Primary School

  • Completed 2016
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • K2LD Architects designed the dynamic learning environment for the Wattle Glen Primary School located in Melbourne, Australia.

    With just under 200 children, Wattle Glen Primary School, a key community asset, has been imbued with a new lease of life, providing flexible, collaborative and vibrant species for this growing community. This narrative was the key to unlocking a brighter future for them, and it was paramount for us that the project’s development was tackled with great collaboration from those who would be actually using the School. The adored surrounding eucalyptus landscape and the notion of ‘Home within the Bush’ provided inspiration for the materiality and form as we explored a series of interventions both indoors and outdoors.

    Internally, the focus was on providing two semi-enclosed ‘shingled’ cubby houses that sat within the large open space that not only absorb sound, but also create small, quiet withdrawal spaces that students work in independently or as a small group. The opening up of the space has allowed teachers to form closer connections and encourages sharing of resources and professional mentoring. The design response throughout has a soft and beautiful palette tying back to the school’s rural setting and who they intrinsically are as a community.

    The design proposal provides a wide variety of spaces in terms of scale, visual and acoustic permeability to ensure flexible learning environments. Across the board, we focussed our interventions on where they can be most cost effective.

    A major challenge to the design outcome was the need to provide a wide variety of spaces with regard to scale and visual and acoustic permeability whilst being cost and space effective. A key example of this being the Shingled Cubby Houses that included subtle additional storage for student reading material and were innovatively surrounded in acoustic panels to not only help absorb sound within the large open space but to also create a softer finish to the overall aesthetic.

    Furthermore, only light-weight elements were removed, with the design working around existing structural elements. Maximum impact was achieved through applied paint color to drab brick walls meaning we had budget to further improve the existing building’s internal atmosphere. This palette centered around pastel colors and light timbers inspired by the surrounding natural landscape and eucalyptus trees. These colors have allowed for the vibrant work of students to be the ‘hero’ element within the space.

    The extensive Mud Stone Amphitheater provided an external teaching and social community space and gave connections to raised areas previously inaccessible and out of sight.

    Finally, to enhance our narrative of bringing the outdoors in, we worked extensively with the existing landscaping, allowing for minimal excavation and land moving costs in order to maximize its connectivity and usage.

    ArchitectK2LD Architects
    Photography: Jonathan Wherrett