Mount Macedon Primary School
Wrapping indoor and outdoor learning spaces around an existing art and music room, a tight budget is cleverly used to provide a new STEAM facility.
A project of opportunism forced by budgetary constraint, this STEAM facility for Mount Macedon Primary School had a unique and seemingly odd proposition – to design an addition to a relocatable classroom.
Relocatables address fluctuations in enrolments and are added or removed from schools as student numbers increase and decrease. This classroom, donated to the school by the Department of Education had been restored and fitted out by its community to become the school’s art and music room, transforming it from a ubiquitous facility to a much enjoyed, permanent asset.
The school’s priority was for a STEAM facility – a project based learning centre combining science, technology, engineering, art and maths with hands-on making activity. Without enough budget for even a single classroom, we opted to build what we could around this little building – adding an explicit learning area and an outdoor maker deck. Working together these three parts provided the variety of spaces the school needed for its STEAM learning program.
Structurally the addition is independent, allowing for the eventual replacement of the older building. Architecturally the intent is the opposite, to connect the design of the new spaces to the building they wrap around. The primary design element of the new project is its roof, in particular its deep, plywood clad trusses. Setout from the window mullions of the existing classroom, the new building follows a rhythm set by the old.
Set on the side of Mount Macedon, the site’s bushfire risk also provided a design opportunity. Bushfire resistant ironbark structural posts provided a high-quality alternative to steel framing that, together with the skylights, ironbark decking and plywood linings, provided an outdoor learning space that was immediately popular with staff, students and parents.
The STEAM room is accessed from classrooms via a stair and from the carpark via an accessible ramp, allowing the facility to be used by the school’s broader community. New landscaping between the STEAM room and the main school building was developed alongside a new site drainage system.
- Full Services
Project Director: Simon Whibley
Project Team: Simon Whibley, Ming Lie, William Heath, Georgia Eade
Photographer: John Gollings
Mount Macedon, Victoria
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