Point Cook Senior Secondary College - Stage 1Edit profile
Point Cook Senior Secondary College is a new school located within a rapidly growing residential precinct west of Melbourne. The masterplan concept for the school was to create a series of single storey buildings in a ‘Circle of Wagons’ around a central campus courtyard protected from the ever-present windy conditions. The individual buildings are developed in two typologies: Learning Communities – ‘Home bases’ that supply each student with familiar learning areas with support services such as toilet facilities and lockers, and access to localised staff workspaces. The learning communities are ‘vertically integrated’, combining all year groups within one neighbourhood. Stage one includes one home base affectionately known as the ‘Homestead’. Specialty Hubs – Dedicated special-use buildings are dispersed around the learning communities in strategic positions to develop opportunistic relationships within the site. Stage one of the school includes the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) positioned adjacent the heart of the ‘circle’, and the mulit-functional Design Technology as flexible start-off facilities. The design concept engages new educational pedagogies with incorporation of flexible teaching and study spaces focusing on the support of a sophisticated individual pathway learning model akin to Tertiary institutions. Interior spaces are strategically open and permeable, incorporating neighbouring venues for learning, study and research to support a dynamic education process. The resulting deep floor plans are provided with natural light and ventilation through visually iconic angular rooflights, adding identity and character to buildings of deliberately modest scale. The geometric shaping of the rooflight forms provides a positive acoustic baffling effect to the open planned interior spaces. Innovative selection and utilisation of materials was an essential concept to deliver a high-quality building within the project budget. A steel structural skeleton was adopted to provide larger internal spans to increase flexibility in placement of partitions and allow an unusual generosity of spatial volumes. Inventive use of translucent outer and inner linings allows for the admittance of diffused natural daylight in unexpected ways. The design incorporates passive and low-tech intelligent systems to provide a robust but effective environmentally sustainable solution. Large roof overhangs are provided to the north of each building to create sunshading and protected external learning spaces. Other environmentally sustainable initiatives include: - rainwater harvesting; - thermal mass via reverse brick veneer construction and exposed concrete slabs; - cross ventilation via louvers in the rooflights; - night air purging; - and resource efficient services. A focus on the education of environmentally sustainable practices is part of the school concept and curriculum. Co-learning is incorporated to engender a progressive culture of sustainable education at the school, and to increase the relevance and effectiveness of the architectural design. Environmental initiatives are deliberately expressed to increase occupant awareness, such as the water tanks, ventilation louvers, sustainable materials, and natural daylight sources, and form part of the environment-aware education programme for the students. The importance of the school within the rapidly growing and dynamic community is expressed through a unique, inviting and recognisable architectural identity, whilst adopting scale and formal cues from the developing built context.