ClarkeHopkinsClarke for Armstrong Creek School, completed at the start of 2018 through a Public Private Partnership.
Armstrong Creek is an integrated primary and special school, so the project had to meet the needs of mainstream P to 6 students, as well as those for a special education curriculum running P to 12.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke designed adaptable learning areas suitable for students of all abilities. They integrated creative activity areas, sensory spaces, consultation rooms, and the ability to close-off learning spaces. Their flexibility supports the school’s collaborative approach, allowing teachers to work together and learn from each other.
As well as the broad education needs, there was also an opportunity for the school to help meet the social and recreational needs of this new urban growth area in southern Geelong. By sharing its facilities, the school becomes a venue for community, arts, sports and recreation programs.
A Community Hub, used by the school during the day, is managed by the local YMCA for community programs after hours. Outdoor sports facilities have been located towards the site boundaries so they will link to a future public recreation area.
Kneeler Design Architects for Portland Bay School, completed in June 2018 for $7 million.
Portland Bay School is a special development school, serving a wide area of Victoria’s western district for students aged 5 to 18 years.
For many years, it has operated out of ageing portable buildings squeezed on to a small site. The Kneeler design is on a much larger site at Portland Primary School, where the two share the sports oval.
The architects created bespoke facilities, specifically designed for special needs, but their design went well beyond that. Because the school caters for students with a range of disabilities, and a significant number of them have suffered some form of trauma, the school had stressed the importance of a calm setting where students could move about unrestricted.
Kneeler Design’s response was to arrange the new classrooms and specialist learning spaces in a protective setting around a communal courtyard.
The landscaping includes sensory experiences that add to the calming environment. They continued that calming approach inside the buildings by choosing subdued colours and putting a lot of thought into acoustic design to minimise noise disruption.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke for the Sale and District Specialist School, completed in March 2018 for $13.3 million.
This project consolidated the school’s multiple existing campuses into one, purpose built for the diverse specialist learning needs of students aged five to 18.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s solution was to design three learning homesteads for junior, middle and senior years, alongside separate multi-purpose buildings. They arranged these facilities around a central plaza to foster a sense of community and promote student relationships. The design supports teachers to work with students inside or outside, individually, as well as in small or large groups.
There are new specialist areas for Homecrafts, Visual Arts, STEM, Food Technology and Performing Arts. Sensory experience is particularly important for these students, so the architects incorporated sensory gardens and rooms for them to explore. Textured materials also feature throughout the internal learning spaces.
Sale and District Specialist School has been transformed from an overcrowded, disconnected learning environment where it was difficult for students to reach their full potential, to a vibrant learning community, where students can be challenged and empowered to build on their abilities in a safe and secure environment.
For more information about the awards, see
Victorian School Design Awards.