The Victorian Architecture Medal, the Australian Institute of Architects, Victorian Chapter’s most prestigious Award, has been awarded to the Dallas Brooks Community Primary School by McBride Charles Ryan. James Staughton, Chair of the award jury described the project as ‘an outstanding example of how intelligent and thoughtful architecture can succeed in a context of social and economic disadvantage, cultural and ethnic diversity, a limited budget, and against difficult bureaucratic constraints.’
This facility, which comprises a new primary school, community facilities and community park, was planned under the Broadmeadows Regeneration Scheme. The scheme was funded by the Victorian State Government under its Building Futures policy. This policy is a key component in the Victorian State Governments education strategy to ensure all Victorian communities have access to modern learning facilities. In this project two existing school communities have been brought together.
The Dallas Brooks Community Primary School is an exploration of how new pedagogy methods may be reflected in various configurations of age-appropriate learning spaces. Small unique learning communities have been developed which are knitted together through shared outdoor courtyard spaces in this mini city. In this way too the planning endeavours to construct an atmosphere that facilitates a fluid and rich journey through the early years of early academic life.
The project has required MCR to work in great intimacy with the school community, responding to their pedagogical insights and experience as well as the community’s unique cultural mix.
The Dallas Brooks Community Primary School has also received the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture and the Melbourne Prize at the Victorian Architecture Awards 2014. It has also been shortlisted for the 2014 National Architecture Awards for Public Architecture.