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Spensley Street Primary School

Transforming an outdoor terrace and redundant boiler room to provide a suite of collaborative working and learning spaces.

  • Design Response

    This transformation, of an existing outdoor terrace and redundant boiler room, provides a suite of collaborative working spaces of different sizes, a presentation and group discussion space and an outdoor learning area. Supporting these STEM learning spaces are integrated joinery for equipment and material storage as well as the relocated kiln and pottery area.

    One of the main achievements of this project’s design was to integrate the brief with the rectification of ongoing leaking problems, developing a design response that not only provided the facility the client wanted but gave them a new outdoor learning area. Gathering capital works and school raised maintenance funds together, we designed a new roof over an outdoor terrace prone to leaking, connecting the new STEM facility to the current art rooms. Together with the school’s music and performance spaces directly below, this roofed space learning area is the heart of a new creative precinct for the school.

    The design is drawn from these adjacencies; the presence of mathematics, science and engineering alongside art and music. To respond to this, we drew from the buildings that make up this space: the brutalist grid structure of the main school buildings and the more playful BER additions. The grid, used to conceal structure and divide space is shifted and distorted as the architecture extends into the outdoor terrace – capturing how creativity bends the rules in order to innovate.

    Using the existing structure required the use of lightweight cladding, a constraint we worked with to combine textured surfaces with colourful ones. With the wall drawings of Sol LeWitt as a key reference, the coloured cladding gives another dynamic layer in order that this space achieves what the school wanted: to be flexible, engaging, and unlike any other it has.

  • Services Provided

    • Full Services


    Workshop Architecture


    Project Director: Simon Whibley
    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Gab Olah, Kathy Then
    Photographer: Workshop Architecture

    Date completed



    Clifton Hill, Victoria, 3068

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