Braemar College Stage 1, Middle School
Braemar College’s new Middle School campus is a unique and nurturing place specifically tailored to contemporary Middle School learning for 540 students, years 5-8.
The new “Woodend” campus, a property of 320 acres lying in the rural plane between Mt Macedon and the ranges of Hanging Rock and Jim Jim, maintains a visual and spiritual connection to the Macedon campus but is physically contrasting. The Masterplan responds by creating a unique place, as a haven within a vast clearing. The architectural language is drawn from the rural vernacular and realises a new vision for the future of education at Braemar.
The existing Macedon campus presented several challenges: manage fire risk; accommodate future enrolment and transition to contemporary learning environments.
We resolved the project challenges through a series of workshops to understand the school’s pedagogical approach and responded with a purposefully built environment. Addressing the key design problem of creating contemporary learning space that is both interconnected and discrete for key learning activities.
Essentially relocating the existing school to a new campus over a series of stages.The Middle School is the realisation of the initial stage of this vision, designed as a contemporary interpretation of the rural buildings.
The masterplanning process we established a staging plan that supports the school’s growth forecast and business plan.
The project successfully addresses the desing challenge of the new “middle school’learning concept for years 5 to 8 – creating purposeful age and stage appropriate learning settings within an integrated and contemporary learning environment.
Students now have a variety of settings in which to complete their studies ranging from the central “kitchen table” to the protected reading nook allowing them to work individually or in a small group. The ease of connectivity from interior to exterior with inside-out workbenches greatly enhances activity choice.
The new campus allows the school to be progressive leaders in education by providing spaces that celebrate education and social interaction.
Embodying the school’s vision and pedagogy, the new campus centres on communities of learners within a learning landscape of interconnected spaces. General learning and specialist spaces are linked via a central learning common, populated by a series of informal settings for individual and group engagement.
The design delivers a highly efficient, fluid plan arrangement. We emphasised the school’s excellent outdoor education program by ensuring that external learning environments are central to both the curriculum and connection to place.
Reflective of the school’s motto of ‘Unum Corpos Multi Sumus’, (‘one body, many parts’): physically manifesting as separate forms but ultimately functioning as a single living organism.
We managed the scale and visual bulk within the landscape while responding to the wish to incorporate deep floor plates driven by an interconnected academic program. The scale was balanced by tapering and stepping of the large gable roof forms, which, wrapped in charcoal cladding, manipulate perspective and defy scale.
This assemblage of architecture and environment is intended to transpose the spirit of Braemar, creating a place for the future of the community.
Reflective of Braemar College’s values, aspirations and commitment to environmental sustainability other key features include:
Energy-efficient, opting for:
• Natural light and ventilation, high thermal insulation and glazing, LED lighting.
• Sustainable timber products, recycled materials products, low VOC paints.
Cost and Time Efficiency
• Steel structural framing enabled offsite fabrication, supporting the modular design concepts and ensuring efficient project delivery.
• Lightweight cladding elements augmented this mode of construction and minimised civil engineering impacts.