Speaking the Language of Design - Pulteney Senior School

Published: Monday 4 July 2016

Pulteney Grammar is one of Adelaide’s longest established schools. Founded in 1848 as a private day school it went “co-ed” in 1998 and has created a friendly and effective learning hub in a school located within the city’s square mile.

Anne Dunstan, appointed in 2014 as the school’s first female headmistress, welcomed us to the “centre for young adults” created from re-use of the Allens Sweets Factory. 

Anne mentioned that she had worked with our colleagues Randy Fielding and Prakash Nair (Fielding Nair International) when she was in Tasmania and she has been influenced by their workshops and their publication “The Language of School Design” which has been used extensively in school design across Australia.

Anne spoke of the need to provide a 21st century learning environment for the young adults in the senior school, so study areas including learning studios with break-out areas group work pods and silent study have been provided, as well as food preparation space, and relaxation areas for social and casual learning

Professional development for teachers was considered a critical component to ensure the pedagogy, practice and architectural design were aligned so teachers would get away from “chalk and talk/ squawk and talk”. 

The senior school students are involved in all aspects of school life including a wide range of subjects, extra –curricular activities and sports, as well as links to other sections of the reception to year 12 school.  “Fresh on Friday” provides an opportunity for students to get out of the buildings and out to sports excursions and community–based activities.

 The centre is also used for community-based learning activities including Greek and a Chinese language and culture classes, held after school and on Saturday mornings respectively.

The building is a very interesting conversion and refurbishment of a former factory.  Walter Brooke Architects have successfully transformed the spaces while maintaining items of interest from its former use as a factory.  Several people remarked that the upper level space with the high level saw tooth roof would make an excellent inner-city pad.

In July 2016 the RAIA (SA Chapter) gave the centre an award for interior architecture.

Ann Gorey, SA Chapter