Transformance wrap up: Master planning - Strategy to Delivery workshop

Published: Wednesday 26 June 2019

The conference workshop from With_Architecture's Founding Partner Geoff Warn and Director Daniel Aisenson was a fascinating insight into the masterplanning for their projects.

Herman Hertzberger famously said "I try to make a city out of each building".  With_Architecture try to make a tiny city of each campus.

Some examples were:

A. Governor Stirling Senior High School, Woodbridge, WA - Existing school
The school was on the river, but didn't address the river and had 2 formal courtyards, military style.  With_Architecture initially worked on sightlines facing in & out and the network of spaces in & out of the site. Resultantly, most of the school had to be demolished to create a modern school. They then formed the buildings around 2-3 less formal internal courtyards.
The new school both interfaces with and addresses the river. It uses the colours of buildings for way finding and a mix of single and double height volumes for variety.

B. Christ Church Grammar School, Perth, WA - New Prep School
The school lacked connection and cohesion and needed more structure. ie. precincts. The chapel, which includes an open space at its entry, was brought into the heart of the school. The western side of the Junior oval was developed to maximise open playing space. The small site determined a 3 storey building. Currently used for parent meals & casual teaching spaces, the undercroft was left open for future expansion. The First Floor is used by the younger students, while the Second Floor, which has larger flexible and break out spaces is used by the older students.

Building colours are intentionally neutral so that teachers can adapt classes. Triangular sunhoods gave the rectangular building interest, and the structure was exposed to show students how buildings were put together.


C. Yanchep Secondary College, Yanchep, WA - Stage 1
A Master Plan was critical for a 1,500 - 2,000 student campus, covering a 13Ha site in a fast growing area. This school was built using a multiplicity of builders. Different buildings were tied together by formalising and establishing main access and road nodes (for clear visual clues). This created a generous entry, not only allowing parents to 'hang out', but aiding the flow of students from 'hubs' to 'streets' and sporting grounds. Soffits & gutters have different colours as a form of way finding.

Due to rock, the campus was confined to a corner of the site. The master plan respected the immediate residential areas by adopting good acoustics, following the material & colour of the adjoining residences, and adopting a 2 storey campus. With_Architecture also worked with a local artist to create a wave pattern in custom cut louvres, plus brick 'waving' to reflect the nearby ocean.


D. Byford Secondary College, Byford, WA - New School
This 1500 student 12Ha state school was started in 2011 & finished in 2016, due to consultation. The Master Plan incorporates a clear North-South access spine. The built form is inspired from the nearby hills, adopting an undulating ceiling pattern throughout. This includes the facades, public spaces, walkways, private spaces, Libraries & cafes. Stage 2 will increase the Outdoor Learning Spaces.

A significant finding was that bigger & larger courtyards were underutilised by the students. Spaces in-between buildings are now smaller spaces, allowing for all types of activities. Again, colours, even on fascias, are used as way finding.


E. Guildford Grammar School, Guildford, WA - New Boarding House
The school Recently went co-ed, so the design of the boys and girls boarding facility had to be flexible, pending numbers of boys versus girls. The design was a 'three finger' building which allows for light, ventilation and open space. It is also cantilevered over road and wetlands and is stepped to follow the river. There are varying room sizes of single, double and groups of 4 students.

Article: Ray Giarola
School photos: With Architecture
With_Artchitetcure's Geoff and Daniel photo: Jeff Phillips

LEA's 19th annual conference, Transformance, was held in Perth from May 28-31, 2019.  Our 20th annual conference, re:Activate, will be held in Christchurch from May  13-15, 2020.