Designing for Joy in Learning at St John Bosco College

Published: Wednesday 27 September 2017

The WA Chapter hosted a tour of St John Bosco College on 7 September 2017. The school is located in Piara Waters, a newly formed suburb 22km southeast of the Perth CBD.

The design of the College addresses many site constraints including 1.5m soil fill required over the entire site, adjacent developer-owned land, major gas line and bush fire requirements.

The double-stream primary school formed the first 2 stages of the campus Master Plan implementation that will eventually cater for a full Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 catholic co-educational college. The project was fast-tracked from the completion of its Master Plan in 2013, to the opening of its early childhood classrooms at the start of the 2015 year.

With the school currently accommodating Pre-K to Year 4 students, the tour showcased its stimulating usage of form, materials and colour that aims to heighten the joy of learning for the entire school and surrounding community.

The buildings are aligned on either side of a strong central axis leading from the administration building and through the external play court, which has cleverly incorporated the storm drainage path with nature play to lead to a designated area that doubles as an external amphitheatre.

Internally, general learning areas open into central breakout areas that carries through the same external treatment of multiple materials and colours. Large skylights and high-level windows are well utilised to bring in natural light to each classroom and central space.

The College’s enthusiastic focus on 21st century flexible learning methods are enhanced by the many shared spaces, full transparency, and cohesive furniture that can be moved between the spaces.

It will be interesting to see the next stage of construction, commencing in 2018, launching the secondary school portion of the College.

Jennifer Ching, Parry and Rosenthal Architects