Tag Archives: education

Brompton Primary School STEM

In July 2016 the SA Government announced a stimulus package for the creation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) facilities in 139 public schools across South Australia.

Construction of the Brompton Primary School STEM project commenced in December 2016 with a site visit from the Minister for Education and Child Development, the Hon. Susan Close. It will be one of the first of the STEM Works projects to be completed.

The design aims to encourage hands-on making and open-ended creative investigations.The robust finishes and open-plan workshop feel will show that the space is not ‘precious’ – it’s there to be used and it’s okay to make a mess!

The children will be the ‘star of the show’, with many locations for displaying and celebrating their work. Almost every surface will be interactive, including the ceiling, which is designed for hanging things from. Wall surfaces will used for display, storage, creation and collaboration, via a lego wall, pegboards, slat wall and whiteboards.

The four zones in the STEM space are denoted by different flooring, but are all interconnected, allowing multiple patterns of use. The dark room space is more formal, used for presentations, demonstrations, green-screen work and light experiments. The timber structure around the dark room is designed to with exposed connections to show how it was assembled.

The STEM space will connect to the courtyard and the veggie garden, as well as into the classrooms to the north. STEM will not be a ‘special’ activity but a normal part of the school day, easily accessible and highly visible.

To visualise this project in 3D, click on the image below to jump into a panoramic 3D representation. Each label will take you to a different view.

 

If you have a smartphone and want a more immersive experience you can equip yourself with a viewer such as the google cardboard and rotate your phone to have the views formatted in stereoscopic.
Minister for Education, Dr. Susan Close, takes a virtual tour through Brompton Primary's new STEM facility
Minister for Education, Dr. Susan Close, takes a virtual tour through Brompton Primary’s new STEM facility

 

Brompton Primary School's Principal, Tina Treffers, with the Minister for Education, Dr. Susan Close, and students
Brompton Primary School’s Principal, Tina Treffers, with the Minister for Education, Dr. Susan Close, and students

 

Brompton Primary School - the "darkroom"
Brompton Primary School – the dark room

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Designing Schools for STEM

Is school design for STEM about encouraging chance encounters across subject areas?

The recent announcement by the SA Government of a $250m stimulus package to provide Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) facilities for government schools has prompted the question: what does designing for STEM look like?

There are many articles noting how STEM skills are vital to the future of Australia; concerns about low numbers of science and mathematics graduates; and much talk about innovation. When it comes to design of spaces for STEM in schools, the principles seem to be the same as for most other disciplines: flexible, adaptable and interconnected environments which encourage a range of learning styles and cater for different group sizes and activities. We have seen the introduction of the Maker movement into schools, with laser cutters and 3D printers now common, and the rise of all things digital.

UniSA College: Science & Maths Centre, Mawson Lakes Photograph: Michael Bodroghy

UniSA College: Science & Maths Centre, Mawson Lakes  Photographer: Michael Bodroghy

 

When planning the UniSA College Centre for Science and Maths at Mawson Lakes, we emphasized a range of table, seating and display possibilities with less emphasis on traditional lab experiments and more on space for 3D printers and scanners. The structure of the existing building only allowed us to create very small display windows facing circulation areas – but this became an advantage as it gives a museum-like prestige to the objects on display. The building fabric also tells a story – the recycled timber ceiling screen is a graph of global warming. Continue reading

3D Coordination

 

Galilee Catholic School Administration Building - cloud based model
Galilee Catholic School Administration Building – cloud based model

There has been much discussion recently about the role of an Architect , and as a profession we are aiming to explain to the community  what an Architect does., Having recently completed my registration studies, this topic has been of particular interest to me. Registration has opened my eyes to exactly how important it is for the Architect, as the lead consultant of the design team, to communicate and coordinate with all members of the project team through all stages of the project.

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The Architect and the Competent Child

Picture1I’d like to reflect on how the concept of the competent child has changed the way I work as an architect.

I can be a procrastinator. There are bits of the house extension we did over 20 years ago that aren’t quite finished. But I like getting things finished. Those involved in building projects at home or at school will know the final touches can take a long time.

I’m lucky enough to have been involved in the Galilee Catholic School at Aldinga Beach, South Australia, with Tina Adamo and then Jodie Higgins and the staff since its inception in 2005. I’ve worked on additional research projects related to early childhood, been involved in the Carla Rinaldi residency and was fortunate to have been on the SA study tour to Reggio Emilia at the beginning of last year. Throughout all of these experiences what has stood out for me has been the honesty involved in not pretending to have all the answers. So for me the interesting outcome of really taking to heart the concept of the competent child is that it’s never finished.

Sure, you can finish the new building. You can design for flexibility and adaptability. But if you are listening to the competent child, you will celebrate the changes that they make to what was planned. That environment will never be “finished”.

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From concept to reality.

The initial pen stroke of conceptual design diagrams for Salisbury East High School’s new Arts Facility has now materialised into built form.

The early line diagram of folding concertina display panels has repeatedly informed design details resulting in a language of folding ceilings, concertina display panels and triangular batten screens.

 

New Teaching Facilities for UniSA at Mt Gambier

UniSA_Mt_Gambier_002Construction has commenced on UniSA’s new teaching building at Mt Gambier in a joint project with Russell & Yelland and Guida Moseley Brown Architects.

Located on the TAFE campus, the $12.5m project will allow the expansion of university courses including nursing, social work, education and Foundation Studies, at this important regional hub.

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Unity College Trade Skills Centre

The existing manual arts facility at Unity College accommodates subjects such as Woodwork, Home Economics, Photography and Art. As part of the recent round of Trade Skills funding the school was presented with an opportunity to expand their manual arts program to accommodate metalwork.

Russell and Yelland Architects have developed a designed solution to extend the existing building, providing an additional and updated workshop to house the new machinery, improved access to CAD facilities and create a space that will satisfy the school’s needs. This project was completed for the 2015 School Year

How teaching can influence the built environment.

A few years ago I was involved in a research program for young professionals facilitated by CEFPI (Council of Educational Facility Planners International) called the Mayfield Project. Our submission consisted of a number of case studies which explored the relationship between pedagogy and the built environment. I examined a recently completed open plan science lab building. The process had a huge influence on my professional development and the results changed the way I viewed educational design, they are summarised below:

A teachers classroom is like their home, it needs to be secure, provide privacy while being adaptable with good links to a range of spaces. Multi purpose or flexible spaces run the risk of becoming homeless. Openness and transparency can come at the expense of privacy and security. This Science Centre designed as open plan for accessibility attempts to find a middle ground.

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