Administration and Classrooms Building

The Donvale Christian College Administration and Classrooms building accommodates a new school administration, reception and waiting/gallery, staff room and offices, and learning spaces for Grade 1 and Preparatory students.

The siting of the building is within the fall of the land to create a very different presence from each frontage - a 2 storey Southern elevation, and 3 storeys to the North. The East and West ends of the building are treated with brick marking the pedestrian approach to the building entrances.

The protective form on the North side provides definition for a new landscaped play/learning space and protection with a stepping section allowing generous sun shading cover and shelter for the Preparatory students.

From the South side, the upper level provides a consistent reading of the building which floats as a 'piano nobile' over the site and announces a presence in the landscape. The strong relationship with the site extends to the stair at the East of the building which is completely open to the existing gum tree canopy. The building is hollowed out around the stair allowing students to experience the view, light qualities and life in the tree canopy from circulation spaces.

Natural ventilation enhances the learning experience; this project embraces the plein air school ethos and the bush campus with 'breezeways' into learning areas. These are expressed in the upper level as a partially operable facade behind a partially open facade cladding. Embedded in the landscape, the building is operable and responsive to its bush setting. The project was undertaken in collaboration with James Lacey.

Photography: Laura Manariti

Client Donvale Christian College
Project Junior Administration & Classroom Building
Location Donvale, Victoria
Area 1550sqm
Budget $6.0m
Traditional Custodians Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations