Site visit to Ormiston College Centre for Innovation and Learning

Published: Monday 5 October 2020

Located in the Redlands’s suburb of Ormiston, 25km southeast of Brisbane, the Queensland Chapter recently visited Ormiston College to tour the Centre for Innovation and Learning, winner of the 2020 LEA Regional Award for New Construction / New Individual Facility over $8 Million.

With the current context of COVID in mind, guests were sensibly seated apart to first hear from Ormiston College Headmaster – Brett Webster, and then the building’s architect BSPN Architecture, represented by Lachlan Meehan and Bretton Watson.

The project began with the College looking to provide a better and more relevant library experience to its students. Looking to better integrate technology into the library to align with its teaching framework, the College began research into what the “Library of the Future” could look like. Given the library’s location at the centre of the school, the new facility was also seen as an opportunity to better connect the school and provide a destination at its heart.

In addition to the distinct integration of technology, the building was developed around the ideas of permeability and flexibility. The building was seen as a nexus for the campus, facilitating the mix of precincts and year levels. The external paths of the campus were continued through the building as internal streets to better facilitate interaction amongst the building’s users. The edges of the building were made open to blur the boundary between inside and outside, through the use of covered courtyards, glazing and larger openings.

After this overview, guests were split into three groups for the tour. Highlights from the tour include:

Makerspace: A non-disciplinary area used by all year levels, utilised by a range of disciplines including Science, Digital Technology, and Art. The open and flexible space has mobile workstations and connects onto several supporting areas that offer activities such as a VR lab with Oculus and Hololens headsets, 3D printing lab, and Design Lab with high powered PCs with design software.

Cafe: Transitioning the College from a traditional tuckshop model to a contemporary café servery the CIL café is separated into two sections – a servery, and a café bar which can both be operated independently.

Library (Junior and Senior Libraries): Separated by a double height lounge area, both the senior and junior library areas offer a variety of spaces for students of all ages.

Interactive floor : The central entry circulation space houses Australia’s largest interactive floor, created by several projectors located in the ceiling. Programmed by students, the interactive floor displays regularly updated themes, including a digital aquarium, World Heart Day, or ANZAC Day.

Andrew Wallace, Graduate of Architecture, Fulton Trotter Architects, QLD

Photographer: Dani Martin