Changing the Architecture of Educating.
Over five years the Federal Government Stimulus Package BER (Building Education Revolution) injected of $16.2 billion of funds into Victorian Schools. Many good things were done, some good pieces of architecture were produced, architects got projects, builders got work, suppliers kept supplying, tradies kept their jobs and as a consequence all sectors of schooling catholic, independent, private and government were able to benefit from new spaces and upgraded facilities. Generally it was a initiative that was regarded as a success. But now what? Government funding for school architecture has dwindled in recent years, with the focus shifting to modest maintenance type budgets. State Government sources will fund the focus now thrown on new Schools in ‘Growth Corridors’ in marginal Federal seats. Schools that didn’t benefit from the BER face the challenge of how to deliver a 21st Century education in superseded education environments.
Education like Law and Order and Infrastructure is a key election issue that straddles the State and Federal funding structures and is one of the few points where architecture impacts directly with public engagement en masse. How we teach our children and the nature of the spaces we do it in is a charged and perplexing issue that tracks Australian architectural history since Federation. This raises questions as to how schools can adapt existing buildings to support new education pedagogies and what role new technologies will play in learning.
These ideas will be explored through work with Sandringham College. This is a Prep-12 school across 4 campuses, and they missed out on government funding in the BER. The studio will investigate extensions, alterations and additions to existing school buildings on the Senior Year 11-12 Campus, to create education environments for future education directions. The site has a real collection of buildings that reflect changes in education architecture in the 20th Century; Admin Building, 1950’s template classrooms, 1970’s library and 1990’s additions. A perfect specimen to explore an architecture for educating in the next millennium.
Studio will emerge in 3 phases; a detailed analysis of existing buildings and identification of opportunities for intervention including a significant workshop with staff and students at the College, a masterplan (group or individual) followed by a deep resolution of a key building. Committed interaction with stakeholders will be very important. Large scale model making will be encouraged.