Learning Environments 2020 Victorian/Tasmanian Chapter Awards

Published: Monday 23 November 2020

Despite the challenges of 2020, interest in this year’s Victorian/Tasmania Chapter Awards was as high as ever, with over 30 entries across six categories. The global pandemic and restrictions on gatherings in Victoria meant that the only option was an online award ceremony, with nearly 100 people logged in to this very special virtual celebration at the end of October.

Co-hosts Lisel Thomas, Victorian Chair, and Scott Alterator, Victorian Chair Elect, did a great job making attendees feel part of the event and celebrations, despite not being physically together. Scott acknowledged the Traditional Custodians of the land on which participants were located and paid respect to the ongoing living cultures of First Peoples and their Elders, past, present and emerging. Lisel noted that the event was taking place on World Teachers’ Day, and took the opportunity to acknowledge teachers across the world for everything they have done to steer their students through this year and keep them motivated and connected to their learning in very challenging circumstances. It was particularly nice to be able to hear from the winners after each award was announced, even if they were not able to be seen.

A range of experts independently judge these awards. Judges for 2020 were: Dr Marian Mahat, Senior Research Fellow University of Melbourne; Dr Patrick Love, former Manager of Planning at Catholic Education Melbourne and honorary fellow Melbourne School of Design University of Melbourne; Karen Webster, Dean and Principal of LCI Melbourne; John Augeri, researcher, practitioner and advisor specializing in learning environments;  Dr Alice Garner, qualified secondary school teacher based at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education; Rod Allan, architect and co-founding partner of ROAM Architects; David Islip, Principal Adviser for Urban Design and Architecture Office of the Victorian Government Architect; Susan Ogden, Principal of Dandenong High School; and Dr Adam Taylor, National Director of School Engagement with Edmund Rice Education Australia.

As in previous years, the Awards showcased many great examples of new and renovated facilities, including early childhood facilities, government and non-government schools, and tertiary facilities. By highlighting best practice education facility planning and design in Victoria and Tasmania, these awards celebrate and raise the standard of educational facilities.

This year’s inaugural ‘People’s Choice Awards’ were also announced. Unlike the robust process used to select the commendations and winners in the main awards, the People’s Choice Awards was based on one the number of ‘likes’ of a single image posted on Instagram. Runner up in this popularity contest was Padua College Whyte Senior Learning Centre by Baldasso Cortese with 495 ‘likes’, with Sandringham East Primary School by Clarke Hopkins Clarke taking out the spot of most popular image with 823 ‘likes’.

A members-only online chat was held a week later to discuss the results and insights.

Consistent with previous years, all entries have been published in the Victorian Chapter's book, ‘Places for Learning – Contemporary Designs in Education’. The 2020 Edition includes photographs and descriptions of all of the projects, and is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the contemporary design and use of learning spaces. The 2020 publication (as well as back issues) is available to purchase via LEA's Online Store.

Video montages of the entrants in the different categories can be viewed here:

Entries can also be explored in an online Awards Gallery here or watch the online presentation announcments here.

Acknowledgement must go to sponsors Interface and Woods Furniture, as well as to Moonshine Agency and BCC Management who produced the video montages and handled technical details in the background.

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries this year and congratulations to the winners and commendations, listed below:

2020 Victorian/Tasmania Winners and Commendations

Category 1 - Entire New Educational Facility

Winner:                              Springside West Secondary College, Brand Architects

Category 2 - New Individual Facility Over $8M

Winner:                              MLC Nicholas Learning Centre, Mclldowie Partners Architects

Commendation:               Professor Lynn Corcoran Early Learning Centre, Froebel Parkville and Perkins Architects

Commendation:               The Swift Science and Technology Centre, McBride Charles Ryan Architects

Category 3 - New Individual Facility Under $8M

Joint Winner:                     Good News Lutheran College - Senior Learning Hub, Brand Architects

Joint Winner:                     St Luis De Montfort’s Primary School - New Learning Centre, Minx Architecture

Commendation:               Wellington Secondary College - E.H. Blaikie Vanellus Centre, ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects

Category 4 - Renovation / Modernisation Over $5M

Winner:                              Carlton Learning Precinct, Law Architects

Category 5 - Renovation / Modernisation Under $5M

Winner:                              St James Catholic Primary School, Baldasso Cortese Architects

Commendation:               St Peter's College Stage 1A Arts Precinct, Y2 Architecture

Category 6 - Buildings or Renovation / Modernisation Under $2M

Winner:                              St Peter Chanel Primary School - Learning and Administration Refurbishment, Crosier Scott Architects

Image: Springside West Secondary College. Brand Architects. Photographer Rachael Dere