Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years and Science Centre


  • McBride Charles Ryan


The brief was for a new Science and Senior Years Centre at Ivanhoe Grammar’s Plenty Campus. The angular internal geometry contrasts with the building’s circular shape, highlighting entry points and providing a distinction between the outer world (singular, circular, muted landscape palate) and the inner world (complex, expressive & colourful).

The contrast in this building’s language encapsulates the contemporary methodologies for a well-rounded education. The circular form is classical, representing order and certainty of knowledge – the building’s inner world, with its expressive and complex mosaic of spaces, represents the complexity of scientific understanding, and the qualities of wonder and imagination.

Key Features


Great consideration was given to the configuration of the learning spaces. Some of the key characteristics were transparency into and between spaces, a variety of spatial type, interconnectivity, multiple-use, flexibility and adaptability of the learning spaces.

Staff workstations are peppered throughout the facility; the lower levels are generally multiple-use teaching spaces, the upper levels predominately science focussed. Provision for outdoor informal gathering of students is provided throughout the complex.

The building is designed to blur the distinction between the inside and the outside environment. The learning spaces have been configured to maximize both light and shading through upper level walkways.


The circular plan is an alluring one for architects, clearly it is a definitive human mark upon the landscape, and yet it has many precedents, from Grounds to Stonehenge to indigenous gathering, show that it can, perhaps paradoxically, coexist with and not disrupt a native landscape.

However, rather than adopting a circular or radial pattern dictated by the shape of the plan, we chose to overlay an angular geometry. This geometry was used to define the central courtyards, the light wells and a mosaic of learning spaces. This geometry contrasts and disrupts the building’s circular motif.

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