Inside the imaginative and exciting Nautilus Centre at Concordia College
On 21st March, seventy-one educators and architects were welcomed to Concordia College's Nautilus Centre, the first South Australian Chapter site visit for 2018. The strong attendance indicates the great interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
Dr Joanne Rogers, Head of Science, was very excited about what the staff and students can do and the way they can learn in the new space in comparison to the previous Science Centre. She was also impressed with how well the Architects listened, interpreted and developed their brief. Joanne said the school wanted spaces which provided flexibility and the opportunity to work collaboratively. Some specialist spaces are timetabled while others were not scheduled so these could be used more freely. A key group of teachers worked with the architects to express and explain these requirements, comment on design and agree on compromise when required.
Furniture was chosen carefully to be versatile and movable as well as suitable for high school students of varying ages and sizes. Stools, chairs and benches for laboratories, breakout spaces, the studio and the workshop were tested on students for comfort, suitability and durability. The white walls can be used to write on and are popular with students who make good use of the spaces for after-hours group learning activities. Storage is neatly concealed behind sliding write-on walls. The divisions between formal learning, labs, circulation, breakout spaces and outdoors is transparent and almost seamless.
Making learning visible
The Nautilus Centre provides an immersive STEAM-based learning environment in which Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics come together. Designed to make learning visible, it faces the main school quadrangle and the school’s northern street frontage, and is visible through large glass windows.
Large sliding glass door panels, collaborative shared learning areas, serviced flexible learning areas and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor learning spaces combine to encourage inter-disciplinary learning and collaboration. This is supported by sophisticated audio-visual systems displaying and sharing information. Students can share information about their projects, and teachers can demonstrate to large groups on the touch screens available.
Wonder, inquiry, discovery and innovation are reflected not just in new learning opportunities, but in the fabric of the building itself. The new facility demonstrates mathematical, scientific and artistic principles through the use of items such as the Fibonacci series, a Foucault pendulum displaying the earth’s rotation in the main stairwell, a sky kaleidoscope, rooftop classroom, and various sculptural exhibits built into the indoor and outdoor learning environment. The steps of the staircase and the adjacent walls include quotations from eminent scientists.
Congratulations to Concordia College for its commitment to an imaginative, exciting learning environment and to Russell and Yelland Architects for creating a design to reflect the school’s ambitions.
Article: Ann Gorey
Photos: David Sievers