Victorian site visit report

Published: Wednesday 2 May 2012

Western Autistic School Western Autistic School in Laverton was designed by Hede Architects and continues their work in the design of finely-tuned specialist settings. The school was the winner of the CEFPI Australasia Region 2011Educational Facilities Awards (Entire New School category).

The brief required a “real world” setting for the children rather than a more protected environment that is often assumed, whilst still addressing the security issues essential for the students. Their education programs are based on independent living and better-preparing the students for the outside world. The building design responded with a strong emphasis on visual richness, way-finding, complex 3-dimensional forms, secure zones and home bases. Another key feature of the design was the incorporation of the community and the careful thinking of support facilities and a discrete entrance to avoid intrusion into the specialist areas.

St Macartan’s Primary School An education program focussing on local environmental issues has driven the Law Architects design of the new St Macartan’s Primary School in Mornington. A feature of the school has been the close collaboration of the Architect, the school and the Landscaper to create rich external learning settings with an environmental emphasis and that have been integrated into the curriculum. The playground area has integrated native planting, rocks, timber walkways, rammed earth seats and stormwater swales into a passive haven for students – and for the attracting the native frogs back to the area. The school also has developed a Stephanie Alexander “Kitchen Garden Learning Centre” – complete with vegetable patch, outdoor kitchen with an enclosed oven and class table, worm farm, rabbit hutch and chook pen.