Bigger, new, modern and tall: see the School Design Awards winners

Architects and designers who have provided innovative, creative and practical schools for Victorian students were recognised at the Victoria School Design Awards.  

The Victorian School Design Awards recognise excellence in design, as well as the contribution of architects and design professionals.

Bringing Melba Secondary College together

Melba Secondary College

Y2 architecture won the Best School Project above $5 million for their work with Melba Secondary College. The school is undergoing major work: upgrading buildings, building new facilities and bringing the junior and secondary schools together.

Melba Secondary College was in dire need of an upgrade. Terry Bennett, who taught at Melba College for many years, says, 'Both the junior and senior campus buildings were built around 1960, and were no longer fit for purpose for 21st century schooling.'

Melba Secondary College students and teachers got involved with planning the design of the new school.

Part of the upgrades was to merge Melba Secondary College's Croydon and Maroondah campuses. Terry says creating a new school and culture is a lot of work. 'Both schools had many strengths,' Terry says. 'The challenge was to create a new school that kept the best elements of both but also incorporated the latest and best in teaching and learning  practice.'

There's a new building for school administration, a library, food technology classrooms and a cafeteria. Each school has their own "village" common area. The junior village includes a Da Vinci studio, a multipurpose arts and science area.

'They have 'wet' floor surfaces and chemically resistant benches so students are able to conduct experiments, use art and other creative materials without any concern,' Terry explains. 'It gives the junior students an opportunity to be creative and explore.'

Melba Secondary College
A new study area at Melba Secondary College

The senior building features a VCE Study Centre for students to work quietly, alone or with classmates. It's available to use during study periods, as well as during recess, lunchtime and after school.

Next, the school are building a STEM building and a sports stadium in partnership with Kilsyth Basketball.

Old and new

Hayball won the Ministerial Commendation Award for inclusive design, which was awarded to for designing South Melbourne Primary School. The school opened for the first time earlier this year – read our story Taking education to great heights in South Melbourne

The five-storey school has modern teaching and learning spaces. There are also public facilities that the community can share including a kindergarten, maternal and child health consulting rooms.

Other winners included:

  • Kneeler Design Architects for modernising historical Portland Primary School.
  • e+ architecture for recreating Epsom Primary School as a rural community hub
  • Foursight architects for a new building at Narrawong District Primary School, and restoring the original school buildings
  • Gray Puksand for building the new Wyndham Tech School
  • ClarkeHopkinsClarke for the new Armstrong Creek School, which combines primary and a specialist school

See all the winners at School Design Awards Winners