2020 WA Learning Environments Awards

Published: Sunday 28 February 2021

The WA chapter kicked off the year with the announcement and celebration of the Western Australian Learning Environment Awards evening. The event was held at the Backlot Cinema in West Perth and was also streamed live via zoom. All of this year’s awards entries were of an extremely high calibre.

The 2020 WA Chapter Awards Jury was chaired by Leon Slattery, Architect and Chair of LEWA Chapter. Leon was joined by Hannah v. Ahlefeld, an analyst with the OECD, and Bradley Day from the Department of Education, WA. This year, we were also excited to have an international jury to judge the overall winner. The panel was made up of international Learning Environments members: Terry White, Chair of Learning Environments UK, Alistair Blyth, Assistant Head of School, Architecture at The University of Westminster and Chris Webb, Educational consultant. Special thanks to Lara Mackintosh (Chair of the WA Awards Committee) and Soraya Ramsey (Awards Project Coordinator).

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

WA award winners and commendations:  

Category 1: New Construction / Entire New Educational Facility

Commendation: Curtin University, Midland Campus

Brief Jury Citation

Lyons and Silver Thomas Hanley’s Curtin Midland Health Sciences building deftly negotiates a multitude of cultural and historical layers of the site. As the first building of the new campus, it is consciously emblematic – both in visual reference to the Bentley campus, and of collaborative, flexible and adaptive practice in tertiary education delivery.

Category 2: New Construction / New Individual Facility (or Facilities) Over $8m

Award Winner: Margaret River Senior High School

Brief Jury Citation

Margaret River Senior High School master planning and development by With Architecture Studio has successfully reimagined and breathed life into the existing campus.

The great success of the project is the courageous moves on a master planning level. The master plan creates a new organisational structure for the development of future stages, integrating new buildings with the existing facilities to create a cohesive campus.

Commendation: Scotch College Mathematics and Commerce Building

Brief Jury Citation

The development and brief formation of Scotch College Mathematics and Commerce Building was exhaustive, both the Architects, Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick and the School immersed themselves in the process. The outcome of this is an exceptional set of teaching and learning facilities that meet the prescriptive requirements of individual disciplines as well as providing great flexibility with a variety of spaces created, from intimate one on one spaces to public and active spaces for large groups.

Category 3: New Construction / New Individual Facility (or Facilities) Under $8m

Award Winner: Eaton Community College Science Building

Brief Jury Citation

In the Eaton Community College Science building SITE Architects have consciously examined all aspects of the brief, with admirable results.

A sense of curiosity and enquiry permeates SITE’s consultation process, amendments to the brief and re-examination of the proposed siting, which was shifted both to preserve outdoor courts and incorporate an existing staff collegiate in the new facility.

Commendation: Melville Senior High School Theatre

Brief Jury Citation

Melville Senior High School Theatre is a statement building, with its sweeping roof form, it sits comfortably in the newly configured landscape connecting to the rest of the campus and creating a new modern performing space. The facilities are not just practical teaching facilities, they are designed to be presentation and performance spaces giving students the opportunity ‘put on a show’ in a professional environment.

Category 4: Renovation / Modernisation Over AU$5m

Commendation: Curtin University Design and Art Precinct

Brief Jury Citation

The Curtin University Design and Art Precinct is a true and substantive renovation that manages to capture the desired spatial flexibility outlined in the brief - and the creativity and imagination of staff and students in the faculty of Art and Design.

Category 7: Landscaping/Outdoor Learning Area

Award Winner: Scotch College Teaching and Learning Building landscape

Brief Jury Citation

An exemplary use of space as a learning tool, the outdoor spaces surrounding the Scotch College Teaching and Learning Building were driven by a 29-page authentic maths narrative developed by educators in the Mathematics Department at Scotch College. 

Commendation: Mandurah Baptist College Early Learning Centre Nature Playground

Brief Jury Citation

In the words of Mandurah Baptist College principal Rob Grattan, “There is no better space for kids to learn than the outdoors and there is no better play resource than nature.”

The important role of nature play and outdoor education in providing a stimulating, healthy and challenging learning environment for young children is exemplified in Mandurah Baptist College's new Early Learning Centre playground.

Overall winner

Eaton Community College Science Building

Jury Citation

The Eaton Community College Science Building not only meets the requirements of the education brief but through its innovatory design fully incorporates the range of learning and teaching activities that are needed for STEM facilities in the 21st century and beyond.

The Eaton Community College Science Building responds well to stakeholder needs with a variety of feedback received from the school community through site visits, presentations, and workshops. The central location of the building provides open sight lines and strong visual connectivity between the spaces ensuring creative and collaborative approaches that promote a “hands on “and real- life problem solving, project-based curriculum experience. The collaborative use of these well designed, adaptable and flexible spaces shared between students and staff enables a dynamic approach in delivering a current and future STEM programmes of study.

The design provides a bright, welcoming space with high levels of visibility and good use of natural light, colour and attention to detail. Surrounding areas have been well planned and functionality incorporated into the overall design. The architects and design team have produced a facility that will positively enhance the experience of the students. The range of multi-purpose studio-style spaces, specialist areas, maker space and staff support areas configured around an open learning zone with direct connection to external learning opportunities and the whole campus, makes this design distinctive.

View all LE WA Award entries here

Article written by Dr Lara Mackintosh and Leon Slattery


Margaret River SHS - photographer Ed Janes, With Architecture Studio

Eaton Community College science building - Photographer Dion Robeson

Scotch College Teaching and Learning - Landscape - Photographer Michael Conroy of Silvertone Photography