St John the Apostle - Stage 1

Project Details

Baldasso Cortese Architects


54-76 Kingbird Ave Tarneit West Tarneit West , Victoria 3029 Australia

Devkrishna Mistry

$4,400,000 + GST

Peter Clarke

Project Overview

The school represents the 1st step in a master plan developed in 2013 for a long term enrolment of 450 students. The school has been designed as two pairs of learning communities; the schools long term intent is for stage 1 to accommodate 194 (P-2 year) students.

Jury Citation:

Situated on the fringe of Melbourne’s western growth corridor, and established to provide young and migrant families with a community school, St John The Apostle does more than deliver an education, it strives to create a community hub for students and their extended families. Illustrating their commitment to these values, the main entry is equipped with a community kitchen in which everyone is welcome to participate in the rituals associated with the preparation and sharing of meals.

In designing the learning spaces considerable attention has been given to accommodating flexibility, without sacrificing variety. This is achieved through a mix of multi-function and activity based spaces that are connected to outside learning spaces via collapsible boundaries. Students and staff, have access to quiet, collaborative and participatory learning spaces, both inside and outside. And whilst careful attention has been given to matters pertaining to duties of care, this has not been done with a heavy hand. Which is laudable, for recent studies show that where the built environment either communicates, or is co-opted to facilitate pejorative observation - rather than attentive care - hopes for creating convivial learning spaces are often thwarted.

The project team are to be commended for their inclusive, innovative translation of a forward thinking educational brief that is environmentally sympathetic, facilitates the delivery of a connected curriculum without dehumanising the environment, and mitigates some of the challenges associated with open learning through design and the selection of materials. 

The vision for St John the Apostle Catholic Primary School was to create a school which would develop an interconnected, engaged learning community which achieves to its full potential.
In designing the school, we believed that maximising learning was reliant on:
a. Acknowledging that learning can occur anywhere and at any time and is a lifelong process which is not confined to the four walls of a classroom.
b. An ability to adapt curriculum delivery to suit the needs of individual students.
c. Providing a learning environment where everyone learns together.
d. Delivering a curriculum which is highly engaging so that learning is the preferred choice for all students.
St John the Apostle has pedagogy of personalised learning for 194 Prep to 6 students in two flexible spaces for team teaching. These varied learning spaces which are accessible to all students. These include adjoining wet areas for art and science which open to the outdoors. Currently, one area is occupied by our Year Prep students, the other by our Year 1 -6 students. These two spaces are linked by a flexible collaborative space, a shared breakout area and solo work room. The staff room has been converted into another collaborative breakout teaching space. The staff no longer are secreted away but fully engaged in the daily life of the school and community.
The community space provides an inviting area for students, parents, staff and the wider community to build relationships. This space is equipped with informal seating, a formal conference area, office work areas and a fully functioned kitchen.
Sustainability is a major consideration in the design of the school and key message to convey to students in terms of minimising their impact of the natural environment. The school 's timber finishes and natural textures both internally and externally reinforce this connection with the environment. The use of natural light, recycled water and a night purge cooling system reduce our dependence on unsustainable resources.
The outdoor areas reinforce belief that learning may occur anywhere and at any time. A dry river bed lined with rock seating encourages social connections. The enclosed synthetic sports area and grassed areas provides for active students.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility