ARM has created contemporary environments for learning, performing and working at this Melbourne independent school.
St Leonard’s College has 1600 students from Early Learning to Year 12.
Its campus has gracious heritage buildings and newer ones designed sympathetically to the old.
The new St Leonard’s Year 12 development is now complete.
The innovative new Year 12 spaces are designed to prepare students for tertiary education and, in turn, for the contemporary workplace. They encourage the working styles and habits that students will soon encounter.
All are in the new Merton Building.
There are 11 learning areas for 22 students each, breakout spaces, nine study nooks for group work, a multi-purpose area for English and humanities, and a university-style lecturette for 45.
There is a dedicated exam room that accommodates an entire year level and can also be used for functions.
Inside, the auditorium has flexible acoustic technology and is carefully designed to accommodate multiple performance types.
It is also a teaching space where students can learn lighting and sound engineering, audio recording and set design. The stage and seating are fully accessible for students with disabilities or limited mobility.
The auditorium has the traditional shoebox shape that acoustic experts worldwide agree is the most successful model. The 3D patterns on the walls optimise the acoustics. They look like a collection of ornate, oversized skirting boards with a repeating graphic made from elements of the St Leonard’s crest.
Aptly for a performing arts venue, the Leonardian’s design concept started with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We imagined unrolling the Globe circle into an S and wrapping it around a box-shaped auditorium. Some corners of the auditorium poked out, unwrapped.
Finally we sliced away sections of the Globe wrapping, leaving large vertical faces. We filled these with vast windows that offer views to the rest of the campus so the building feels engaged with everyday student life.
We chose the Globe also because the shape of its gabled roof is similar to that of Harefield House, the 1890 building that is central to the St Leonard’s campus character.
We also added several new outdoor learning spaces for the senior school.
The main one is a courtyard/gathering area called the Agora. It’s approximately 30m across, located at the junction of the Leonardian and the new Year 12 building. It has a small outdoor stage and a big screen for myriad uses, including telecasting events happening in the Leonardian.
There’s also a new promenade between the Leonardian and the heritage Harefield House, and a mews with an external lecture space just north of the new Year 12 building.
These new facilities add to an attractive, cohesive campus that respects the history of St Leonard’s and looks to the future.
Construction was completed in 2020.