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Melton West Primary School

Reinventing the existing primary school in response to contemporary needs in a growing area with great ethnic diversity and significant social disadvantage.

  • Design Response

    Melton West Primary School sits on the suburban outskirts of Melbourne’s west, in a rapidly growing area of great ethnic diversity and significant social disadvantage. A masterplan was completed as part of a pilot program for larger primary schools in locations with the demographic demand and the available space. This masterplan addressed the small ageing classrooms, the need for contained outdoor breakout spaces (for distressed students to calm down in a protected environment), failing amenities, the absence of a hall for 750 students to gather and a dusty, disfigured oval.

    The school entry was moved from West Melton Drive on the south to the quieter Rathdowne Circuit on the west with a pair of new admin buildings (one built in this first stage of works) connected to the extruded body of the retained LTC classroom blocks (to be renovated in the future works). A new synthetic turf multisport oval (football, rugby, soccer, cricket, athletics) was built on the diagonal axis of the BER building whilst creating a northern focus for the new multipurpose hall (for assembly, PE, netball, basketball and cultural events) with a generous glazed outlook to the north and south. Completing the first stage of works is a new amenities block, plugged into the trimmed end of the northern LTC teaching block.

    One of the challenges of the project was how to negotiate the significant scale difference between the hall (with min 7.5 meter ceiling height) and the adjacent school buildings which was achieved by embedding the hall within the low scale skillion roofed strip (with changing rooms, canteen, music room and art room) wrapped around its northern side and folding back on itself to the west to embrace the new oval (a geometric operation repeated in the admin building also).The vertical surfaces of the hall are then carefully configured to reduce their reading to a collection of repeated parts rather than a monolithic block. Internally, the width, depth and height – due to minimum Netball Victoria standards as well as maximum VSBA entitlements – led to a space of non-negotiable size and dimension. The volume captured between the 1.2 to 2.4 meter deep roof trusses (with a clear span of 23.5 meters) then became the best opportunity for spatial expression whilst facilitating controlled natural light and cross flow ventilation to the unconditioned space of the hall.

    A consistent material palette of manganese and toffee apple red glazed bricks, timber, steel, and raw cement sheet was applied throughout, in counterpoint to the existing pale brown brickwork of the retained buildings. The striped patterning is repeated at an enlarged scale to the ceiling of the hall as face fixed acoustic panelling which becomes a repeating part of the material palette also.

    Integrated PA system, motor operated basketball backboards, split system heating and cooling, CCTV security and full perimeter security with video intercom control to the front entry complement the abundance of technical requirements typical of a project of this nature.

     

  • Services Provided

    • Full Services

    Architect

    Workshop Architecture

    People

    Project Director: James Staughton
    Project Team: James Staughton, Simone Koch, Gab Olah, Chenzi Yu
    Photographer: John Gollings

    Date completed

    March, 2020

    Location

    Melton, Victoria

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