Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership

The Bastow Institute is an adaptive reuse of the heritage listed former state school designed by Henry Bastow. Combining both meticulous restoration work and a dynamic contemporary addition, the Bastow Institute is a 21st century learning environment embedded with history and character which functions as a training facility for Victorian teachers.

Project Details

Drew Carling - Maddison Architects

Commendation Category 3: Renovation/ Modernisation/ Over $2m

603 Queensberry St North Melbourne, VIC 3051 Australia

Jolie Lam


Will Watt

Project Overview

The brief from the client began as an aspiration to provide a unique training facility for educators to become better leaders. Developing the functional brief with the client, it became apparent that a deep understanding of teaching and learning methods was essential to the design. Different modes of learning require different environments, and Bastow Institute continually aims to enrich and extend these experiences.

The main theatre accommodates up to 100 people for large presentations, which can be broadcast throughout the facility and connect to live video links across the internet. Flexible seating and individual participant microphones also encourage the entire audience to be active contributors to the learning sessions.

Despite being a heritage listed building of significant importance, the existing state school was in complete disrepair when the project commenced. Working in close consultation with heritage architects Lovell Chen, almost the entire building required meticulous restoration. A careful analysis of the significant heritage building elements was used to determine where and how new additions could compliment the original school. Whilst the new architectural insertions are overtly contrasting from the original building fabric, their placement, scale and impact have been carefully considered.

New functional requirements such as toilets, editing suites and room partitions are largely self contained and separate from the existing building envelope. Perhaps most significantly, the entire lecture theatre was positioned underground to ensure the new extension did not add excessive visual bulk disproportionate to the original building.

To deliver a holistic design experience, intensive consultation between engineers, graphic designers, IT specialists, furniture designers, landscape architects and the contractor was vital. Over 4 years in the making, this is a benchmark project for the Department of Education and Maddison Architects. The facility is named in honour of Henry Bastow, Architect to the Education Department which implemented the radical 1872 Education Act that produced over 600 schools across Victoria based on the principles of a secular, compulsory and free public education system. The Bastow Institute takes inspiration from this legacy.

Juries Comment

"There was a wide range of projects in this category reflecting the reality that most schools and learning facilities are developed through a constant process of change and adaption. The jury members were particularly impressed by a number of projects that transformed old didactic learning settings into attractive new settings for more individual and collaborative learning.

Commendation was given for Bastow Institute for Education Leadership in Victoria. This project was an exemplary transformation of a heritage-listed school into a professional development facility for the new generation of educational leaders. This facility demonstrates excellence in design in terms of its sensitive treatment of the original heritage buildings, a contrasting but respectful 21st Century extension, ecological sustainability and flexible learning spaces. The facility will inspire educational leaders towards the achievement of similar design excellence in their own schools.

 Congratulations to Maddison Architects and the Bastow Institute for Educational Leadership."


This page last updated: Friday 31 May 2013