Catholic College Wodonga, Senior Centre
Understanding the social and learning culture of senior years’ students and staff at Catholic College Wodonga was the principle focus of No. 42 Architects during the early stages of the design process for the new Senior Centre . Working in collaboration with the educationalist Dr Ben Cleveland, our team undertook workshops, interviews, presentations, and observations with senior students, staff, parents, and college community. We sought to examine and question the educational rationale of the college leadership, the pedagogical approaches of the staff, the learning and social needs of the students, and the expectations and values of the college community.
The expectations and spatial needs of the students and teachers were developed through a “Stuff It ” workshop. In this workshop senior students and teachers explored learning experiences that they may encounter in their current curriculum. From these experiences the furniture and surrounding environment were imagined that best supported the students in their learning. These exercises established that a range of learning settings was often needed to satisfy the typical senior learning experiences.
The range and depth of pedagogical encounters were explored and described though the pedagogical approach, the spatial needs, the qualities of that space, the resources required, the times of use, and the numbers of students and teachers involved.
This process culminated in a design that supports the variety of learning needs experienced by a senior student during the final years of college life. A range of spaces was created including didactic teaching spaces, group learning studios, short term delivery areas, seminar rooms, open team booths, incubator enclosed pods, silent study areas, a library node, accessible staff zones, incidental meeting points, and relaxation areas. These areas are linked by a fluid promenade zone that encourages accidental interactions.
St Monica’s Primary Wodonga, Ichthus Centre 5-6 Learning Space
The leadership team and Years 5-6 teachers at St Monica’s Primary School are extremely progressive in their educational approach and pedagogical delivery. No. 42 Architects worked with these educators and the whole school community to develop a learning space with a range of interlinked learning settings designed to support individualised constructivist learning. Taking its name from the Christian fish symbol, the heart of the architectural plan is a fish-shaped Ichthus glass bowl with transparent walls that permit views into and through the space creating a visually connected learning environment. Encircling the fishbowl is a range of purposeful learning spaces that support distinct learning modalities. Bold colours and a range of different furniture types are used throughout the environment to emphasise the individual characteristics of each learning setting.
The inextricable link between pedagogy and space evident in the design of the Ichthus Centre is the result of detailed interrogation of the pedagogical environment the teachers wished to create. During the process Ken Woodman discussed the design with teachers, students, and parents. Prior to final occupation of the building he explored the ways each setting could be used with the teachers.
Assistant Principal Jacqui Partington said "My original view that space was just a facilitator of teaching and learning has been significantly challenged. I could not have imagined that the space created by Ken Woodman would have transformed our teaching and learning to such a degree. The pedagogical hum that is present in this building is an indication of the physical environment meeting the student’s learning endeavours.”
St Monica’s Primary Wodonga, Ichthus Centre, Years 5-6 Learning Space was awarded the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International, Victoria Chapter of the Australasia Region 2011 Award for Outstanding School Renovation/Modernisation Under $1 million.
Indigo Shire Council Offices, Feasibility Study
The council staff at Indigo Shire operated out of two separate locations at Yackandandah and Beechworth. Their existing offices were conversions and additions of the original Shire buildings in those towns and were inadequate for the long term requirements of the public, councillors, and Shire officers. No. 42 Architects were invited to explore the options available to Indigo Shire for the future municipal offices and council chambers.
No. 42 Architects established a process of information gathering, consultation, design, and assessment. Initially, the existing facilities were assessed and the preferred Shire organisational relationships established. All available location possibilities across the Shire were investigated and feasibility planning on a range of selected sites was completed. The sites were analysed against space requirements and probable cost with a shortlist of preferred sites compiled. A survey was issued to all residents in the Shire and to all council staff to assist in compiling a set of criteria on which to assess the shortlist.
We established a Community Reference Group to review all the preferred options and apply the agreed criteria. Three options were selected from this process and recommendation report presented to Council for their final selection.
Private Residence (227 Alma Rd)
Buried in the native bush of North East Victoria this house draws on the surrounding elements of naturally split granite boulders, red stringy bark and Blakely red gum trees. Rising out of the ground white rammed earth walls protect the property while providing thermal mass to maintain the internal temperature. The entry is a fissure between two walls in a stark white southern elevation. However, the extensive northern double glazed elevation absorbs the winter sun onto a burnished coloured concrete floor while overhangs remove the hot summer sun. Large glass sliding doors and narrow louvre windows provide cooling cross ventilation. A solar hot water system and a wood fire also heat the in-floor hydronic heating. Rainwater is collected and reused on site and a worm farm system recycles waste and returns nutrients to the ground. A stand-alone solar electricity system powers the house with low voltage lighting and fittings. The kitchen benches are red stringy bark milled from fallen trees on the property and reflect the red splits in the bark of the trees.