The Mandeville Centre, Loreto
- Loreto Toorak
- Glowing Structures
The new Mandeville Centre is an essential investment into the vitality of Loreto Mandeville Hall. It is a focal point for the school community, in function and location, acting as a link to all school operations. The building houses School Administration, Staff Centre, lecture theatre, Learning Resource Centre, Year 12 Centre and a basement level car park consistent with the 1999 City of Stonnington approved master plan.
The pinwheel concept is a diagrammatic response to the physical brief, animating and ordering the building program around a central atrium space, radiating to all elements on and off site.
Spatial Framework for Learning.
“Planning of the main spaces relies on a pinwheel arrangement of classrooms organized around the central library, with the north and west facades forming double-height perimeter atrium and gallery spaces. Gaps between the classrooms allow for the projection of space and views beyond the limits of the classroom-and-library enclosure. The resulting matrix of interconnected spaces provides for a surprising diversity of occupation and interaction. The double-height library is open and porous and the adjoining classrooms are equipped with large sliding doors that facilitate relationships with the adjoining spaces.” – Shane Murray, AA Jul/Aug 2016
There is enormous flexibility in the building’s potential for varied approaches to interaction and occupation. The main entry leads into an internal street that is both a gallery and function space. The staff centre has been designed around agile working – with diverse work settings integrated within a more social and collaborative environment. The library is both purposeful and multi-function – used by class groupings and individuals. The Year 12 Centre has become an identifiable place for learning and social development where formal and informal spaces are complimentary. Winifred Square is the new Town Square and is used for whole School gatherings, recreation, and outdoor learning.
A Formal Determination of the Building by its Site.
The imposing and impressive Mandeville Hall, its chapel, heritage gardens, a processional entrance and the Mandeville Crescent address itself.
The inflected façades pull away from a 3 level square plan to create spatial diversity within and as a direct response to site influences- the curvature of Mandeville Crescent to the west and the Deodar Cedar tree to the north. The curved western façade also provides solar protection and visual privacy and accentuates distant views, contained within animated vertical fins.
Whilst the exterior is interested in the notion or tectonic of material expression, the interior palette of materials is one of honesty and simplicity. White plaster, plywood, concrete and textured steel are juxtaposed against each other and create a raw and authentic backdrop to the color of learning. The perforated wall linings give an even texture and visual relief, whilst creating the calm that is experienced within the connected spaces.
Spaces to Inspire Learning
The Library at Loreto Toorak is the epitome of style. In open, light, a ‘best’ and ‘next practice’ facility, one in which both teachers and students work at their most productive.
“The library spaces simply inspire all who walk through the door – the students to settle comfortably to work and learn; the teachers to use the spaces, as appropriate, for the lesson at hand. Seminar rooms that are small with round tables for conversation, or smaller nooks for reading, contemplation or problem-solving, or larger open spaces for research and reading – all are available for the scholar, for scholars the students become in such spaces.” – Dr Susan Stevens, Principal Loreto Toorak.