Russell Yelland

Brompton Primary School STEM facility

Completed: 2017
Client: SA Department of Education / Brompton Primary School
Awards:“An Innovative Education Initiative”
2019 LEA SA Chapter Awards

In 2016, Brompton Primary School was the first DPTI STEM Works-funded project to be unveiled. In just six months, and to a budget of $1M, we delivered a dynamic learning facility that gives students permission to experiment and learn through curious play.

What we did: STEM Works facility
Primary school refurbishment
Kitchen garden

With strong involvement from school leadership, our early design workshops were brimming with ideas. Drawing from Reggio Emilia lessons from some of our earlier education projects, we explored the concept of “the environment as the third teacher,” visiting Melbourne’s Scienceworks for inspiration in how to fully activate the space.

Formerly a BER-funded library, the STEM building comprises four intersecting and irregular shaped zones. These include a digital maker space, wet and dry activity areas and a dark room pod for media viewing, green screen work and light experiments.

Robust finishes approve mess, and a variety of sensory stations – visible within the one space – invite interaction and demonstrate the links between the various STEM disciplines. Pegboards, Lego walls, display nooks and whiteboards wrap each zone, and retail-style flatwall displays store supplies in plain sight, making the space an accessible, whole-of-school resource.


Welcoming the rest of the school in was key, but so was the option to take STEM learning outdoors. By opening the space onto a new covered courtyard, students can now work outside and access the established kitchen garden with ease.  

Building materials and finishes offered another opportunity to demonstrate STEM’s real-world applications. The exposed connections in the dark room pod’s timber structure puts engineering on show, while a suspended, commercial lighting rig doubles as hanging space for items of significant weight.

Photography credits:Dan Trimboli