Newcomb Park Primary School
Built – imaginarily – from a variety of industrial components, reassembled to deliver flexible and intimate spaces that celebrate the once industrial area.
With an enrolment of only 100 students – from a peak of 600 during the heyday of the nearby Port Henry aluminium smelter – we embarked upon a masterplan to establish a comprehensive vision for the future of the school. The new building reimagines the school entry and reception and is connected with a covered way to the retained BER teaching building. Designed as a multipurpose facility with reception, admin, staffroom, art, music and community rooms it is also configured – when the school inevitably grows – for conversion to a dedicated admin building as future facilities provide for specialised teaching spaces.
In celebration of the area’s industrial past the building is – imaginarily – built from a variety of decommissioned components from the now defunct aluminium smelter – trusses, ducts, holding tanks and windows – reassembled in such a way as to deliver teaching, learning, admin and amenity needs. Truss components frame the covered arrival and entry area; duct like coffers magnify the presence and reflected light of skylights; tank elements form circular planter box seating externally; smoke blue spandrel panels articulate facades throughout and retro reflective signage film forms safety markings on columns. This establishes a new and adaptable architectural language with the capability of accommodating a variety of buildings and infrastructure in the future. Whilst the references are industrial, the components are configured in such a way to create intimate and intriguing internal spaces, with ceiling heights as low as 2.1 meters and as high as 5.0 meters.
An operable wall provides flexibility between art and music rooms, sliding doors allow staff and community rooms to operate as a shared facility, a 25KW array of solar panels is installed and a CO2 sensor operated ventilation system maximises the air quality of learning spaces throughout. Surrounding the circular planters is a native sensory garden. It provides an engaging, calming, trafficable landscape amongst the school’s collection of hardscaped play areas.
- Full Services
Project Director: James Staughton
Project Team: William Heath, Jacqueline Tang
Photographer: John Gollings
Wadawurrung Country / Newcomb
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