ARM has completed projects on both campuses of this Melbourne independent school. Both have historic buildings that have inspired our new designs for children’s technology-based learning spaces.
This junior campus no longer suited Firbank’s contemporary pedagogy style. We removed about 30 per cent of the campus buildings and added the scallop-shaped Learning Hub whose edges form a series of courtyards and link to existing adjacent buildings. The new building has four classrooms at each level that can be opened up to form one large space. Interstitial areas are filled with staff workspaces and student amenities.
One of the campus’s existing buildings was Wool Wool, a 100-year-old home. Its fine brickwork and Tudor-style timber strapping inspired elements of our new building, in particular the elaborate twisted brick columns and cantilevered brick corbel that stretches skyward.
The Brighton senior campus’s new Learning Centre is the existing 1970s library, renovated and expanded. It is close to the campus’s historical heart (the 1909 arts and crafts-styled Louis Williams Building), which inspired us to unify the new design with the old.
The new part of the building has flexible learning spaces with operable walls, Smart Boards and large interactive digital screens. Its most striking interior element is an otherworldly green semi-orb—a feature gathering point with a projection screen on the concave side that faces two classrooms. The Brighton Learning Centre respects and enhances the existing campus. It provides highly flexible, contemporary learning facilities that will address Firbank’s educational needs for many years.
“The building gives us the spaces and technologies to customise and personalise learning…We’re seeing some exceptional results because when students have choice and responsibility they’re more engaged.”
—Firbank Head of English Faye Smith