Caulfield Grammar Learning Project

Project Details

Architects
HAYBALL (in association with LEaRN, The University of Melbourne)

Award
Overall Winner All Categories and Winner Category 5 Educational Initiative or Design Solution

Address
217 Glen Eira Road, East St Kilda, Victoria, 3183

Cost
$2,985,000 over three campuses

Project Overview

Caulfield Grammar School is forging its transition towards contemporary teaching and learning practices with a series of prefabricated prototype buildings across three metropolitan campuses, designed for new generation learning. It is a project of exploration and discovery for all participants.

Jury Citation

Caulfield Grammar School’s Learning Project is a bold initiative that demonstrates the interplay between action that is knowledgeable and knowledge that is actionable. This collaboration between educators, architects and researchers is an important first step in setting new standards for the design of truly innovative learning environments.

The project consists of a series of similar installations deployed across 3 campuses to test a wide variety of spatial arrangements, designed to catalyse innovation in teaching and learning practice. This project is unique in its scale, scope and reach – it does more than deliver a beautiful learning environment, it seeks to get at the very heart of good design for learning from both an instructional and architectural perspective.

Using a design that is loose enough to accommodate a variety of modes in different settings these installations, with their overlapping and adjacent spaces, facilitate a variety of concurrent activity for diverse groups of learners. Careful attention to acoustics ensures that neither the permeability nor the functionality of the design is compromised. Technology has been sensitively deployed as one of a number of possible tools for learning, and whilst it plays a major role in enabling this type of activity-based learning, it does not dominate or shout for attention. Colour and materials have been used to good effect to enhance legibility and create unique and intimate places within a contiguous whole.

The Caulfield Grammar Learning Project makes a significant contribution to the development of theoretically informed, practice oriented, architectural design for learning.

The Learning Project evolved from the masterplanning for Caulfield Grammar’s three campuses in metropolitan Melbourne, developed by Hayball in 2013. It involves a project being developed at each campus to facilitate a shift towards bespoke facilities for new generation learning.

A prefabricated building designed for purposeful and differentiated learning has been introduced to each campus, with 33 exceptional features. Each feature is pivotal to providing an engaging learning experience for students spanning the ages of 5-18 years, and the clear purpose of each offers teaching staff significant choice in how lessons are delivered.

Critical to the interior design is the concept for three differentiated ‘studios’, each of which intersects with a central ‘sticky’ hub. The concept explores a sequential approach to planning and the process of project-based learning, allowing students to move through the spaces progressively as projects develop and the need for a new environment arises.

The design removes traditional staff workspaces, avoids duplication of spaces and uses purposeful furniture to support the full range of learning activities. The outcome is a choice of settings which students and staff share and move between, negotiating use and timing in both a planned and impromptu way.

Each of the learning settings emerged from the cross pollination of ideas across campus communities, as activities already happening discretely in pockets across the school were shared in the consultation process. The campuses were learning from each other.

Catering for diverse age ranges and imbuing a whole-of-school vision across discrete campuses were key challenges which were met by the comprehensive engagement of key stakeholders and decisions based on evidence and research.

As a prototype for introducing a new pedagogy, the non-permanent nature of the buildings acts as a vehicle/catalyst for change, enabling the school and designers to test settings and spaces with diminished risk of designing for a new pedagogy. The project outcomes will valuably inform future key high investment projects at the school.

The project is also the subject of broader research. Both Hayball and the school are partners in E21LE, an ARC Linkage Project with the University of Melbourne to evaluate the educative value of contemporary physical learning environments.

This page last updated: Tuesday 24 May 2016