Authors- Hassell + Simon Pendal in collaboration
Awards / Exhibitions
AIA Award for Public Architecture (WA) 2009
New Trends of Architecture in Europe and Asia-Pacific 2008-2010
Photographer- Chris Geogehan
Our office was engaged as a lead design consultant for the schematic design work stage of this new school project. Our principle response, which lead to the ribbon-like building configuration, was to preserve the existing site as best as possible. The site, former farmland, consisted of degraded grassy undergrowth with significant stands of Tuart, Jarrah, Karri and Marri trees. These trees, most hundreds of years old, are characteristic of the former native landscape and deemed irreplaceable. The site’s very essence resides in their figures and shadows. The building responds to this precious landscape condition by acting as a ribbon threading its way across the site, minimizing tree removal and using dense stands of trees as spatial formations in and around the new building. The formal strategy allowed the brief to change and the building to be re-ordered without loss of intensity or idea. It allowed the school to be read as a cohesive whole providing a range of intimate to broad scaled external courtyard and fringe spaces for an array of teaching purposes. It is in this way that the building and landscape were considered as a single project- allowing multiple, carefully scaled addresses to the street and bush reserve to the south, horizon and oval to the north, the banksia tree grove to the east, and the lake (compensation basin) to the west. The ribbon form of the building also allowed the majority of the building to be correctly oriented, shaded and cross-ventilated.