‘The glue that brings communities together’

‘The glue that brings communities together’

The urban population growth of Melbourne has increased rapidly over the course of only a few years, putting pressure on many schools that are at, or approaching, their student enrolment capacity.

The city’s growing population has fuelled calls for more infrastructure and facilities, including a rapid demand for new schools.

To support this boom, a leading Australian architecture firm was recently tasked to deliver 10 schools in 12 weeks – all on the periphery of Melbourne – as part of the Victorian Growth Areas Schools Projects (also known as GASP).

Below, The Educator speaks to Architectus Principal, Mark van den Enden, to find out more.

TE: What do you believe is driving the surge in enrolments within the Victorian education system?

The boom in population growth in Melbourne and across the outer suburbs has certainly seen a surge in Victorian school enrolments. With more families comes the demand for more schools across the state of Melbourne, which has become a key focus for the Victorian Government. As part of the Victorian Growth Areas Schools Projects (GASP), Architectus was tasked with designing 10 schools in 12 weeks across the periphery of Melbourne including Geelong, Point Cook and Clyde North. One of our main objectives was ensuring the facilities within the schools also played a functional role for the surrounding community, creating a space where the community can come together. Facilities such as performing arts, gymnasiums and even libraries can be designed to be utilised outside of school hours. It can sometimes be the glue that brings together new communities

TE: Can you tell us about Architectus’ work on the Victorian Growth Areas Schools Projects and the impact it has for Victoria?

It has been a delight to work on the Victorian Growth Areas Schools Projects, as it has provided us with the opportunity to help shape the learning of so many future generations. A key focus for Architectus’ work on GASP was to ensure the schools are imbedded within the community. We undertook an in-depth community consultation program and collaborated with key community members to achieve a strong sense of place throughout the design.

TE: In what ways does design reflect the requirements of effective learning, specifically temporal learning?

Learning is temporal, meaning it happens differently at varying times throughout the day. Design needs to cater to the nature of education and nurture each and every step throughout the process. In our work for the Victorian Growth Areas Schools Projects, we drew on this knowledge and designed the Victorian schools in module form. Each mode providing an alternative learning space that catered for diverse learning requirements and experiences. This type of progressive design allows for flexibility within the learning environment as well as having the capacity to accommodate an expected growing population. Essentially, providing more space for more children to learn.