Marist College Bendigo

As issues of sustainability and water management continue to dominate considerations of habitability and community health, education assumes a high level of responsibility in engaging students with problems and solutions.

The integration of the landscape at Marist College is impressive in foregrounding issues and making the landscape a central feature of learning.

The project is commendable for several reasons. The scope of the wetlands meant that multiple stakeholders were consulted to ensure a consideration of various perspectives including education, local and state government bodies and community groups. The ability of the design to satisfy the various frames is confirmation of a thorough planning process.

The site embodies complementary goals. The educational and spiritual imperatives are harnessed to create a dynamic learning environment that establishes the centrality of landscape while enhancing the internal learning spaces. The use of the landscape in the teaching program affirms the success of the design in responding to the education specification.

The bio-filtration system and concern with animal habitat is evidence of the design’s integration of principles of sustainability. Here the design both features and highlights the principles underpinning sustainability. This is a considerable achievement for a learning design and the judging panel highly commends this project.

Project Details

Y2 Architecture

Commendation: Category 6 Landscaping/Outdoor Learning Area

Golflinks Road, Maiden Gully VIC 3551

Garry Thompson

Bill Conroy

Project Overview

As a new facility, the college founders saw the need to create a sense of community, culture, heritage and identity, leading to a design that both embraces the roots of Marist faith in France and fosters an Australian narrative, through the landscape, built forms and budding culture of the school.

The landscape builds upon the concept of a village in a glade surrounded by woodland. The school buildings form 12 of 22 the village with sheltered micro-climates, deciduous trees, water features and productive plants. A central village green will form the main civic space for the school and local community. Water weaves throughout the site, signifying its importants in both an Australian and spiritual context. The system is used for on-site treatment of blackwater and storage/use of rainwater and takes advantage of the pre-existing site flooding issues. This wetlands provides habitat for native fauna and flora and is an embedded learning tool, allowing students to engage with an active ecosystem throughout their learning. The Montagne Centre spreads out along the edge of the wetlands with its decks providing educational opportunities at the water’s edge. Transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces are fluid and encourage students outward. Large windows draw in natural light while smaller key openings frame views of the wetlands. The Montagne Centre represents the first stepping stone of the school's journey, designed to instil the aspirations and values of Marist College on its community creating capable learning environments that are succinct with the opportunities of 21st century education.

Y2 Architecture and their consultants worked collaboratively with stakeholders to provide facilities that meet the needs of the community. Evidence of influence Easy transitions and visual connections between indoor and outdoor -Large folding glass doors open onto outdoor learning spaces around the building including an undercover assembly area with tiered seating, and an outdoor kitchen / dining area. Extending facilities beyond the traditional classroom – -Eg outdoor kitchen, bird watch, window seats, vertical garden opportunities and deck areas -The deck areas and a small pier stretch out over permanent wetlands to create tranquil outdoor spaces perfect for natural science studies, socialising and relaxation. Building connections to the extended community that are mutually beneficial- -Providing sporting facilities that meet the needs of both the school and council requirements. -Working with the Office of Living Victoria to build a holistic approach to water management, meeting their demands and providing a template for surrounding developments. The overwhelming success of The Montagne Centre and its outdoor settings is their great potential to be adapted for specific projects and learning investigations. Its permissive design will also allow the building to respond to the evolution of Marist College's distinct culture as it continues to grow and develop.

This page last updated: Sunday 11 December 2016

2016 Category 6 Landscaping/Outdoor Learning Area