The Clendon Centre
Loreto Mandeville Hall
The Clendon Centre is a learning and home base for Loreto Toorak’s Year 7 to 9 students. It is both functional and beautiful, instilling a sense of calm through its deeply considered scale, proportion, transparency, and minimal material palette.
Comprising six levels, three of which are below ground, it has been designed within a very restrictive physical context. Years 7 and 8 occupy the two upper levels of the building and each of these floors accommodates all homerooms and informal areas. The year 9 students’ spatial arrangement is slightly different as these students occupy both the Ground and Basement Level 1, with a level of independence indicative of a transition into senior school years. The tiered teaching stairs, lecture theatre, workshop and gallery spaces also provide opportunities for community engagement outside of school hours.
The Centre’s form and materiality respect the schools’ heritage setting, including Mandeville Hall designed by Charles Webb, St George’s Chapel and the site’s history as a residential compound. The building’s functional geometry engages with the immediate physical environment while also responding to the residential scale and rhythm of Clendon Road: creating opportunities for different types of external courtyards, scaled for movement, gathering and contemplation. The landscape has been designed to embellish and frame the spaces between buildings with materiality and vegetation used to establish value, local identity and to help foster school pride. The intimate sunken courtyards provide daylighting to learning spaces located at basement level, borrowing landscape for the stimulation of active young minds.
The building acts as a complementary backdrop to the treelined Clendon Road. The in-situ concrete wall, which acts as a boundary fence to the east, respectfully acknowledges the history and memory of the site and transforms into a building behind, rising up to the south to mark the primary entry off Clendon Road and the courtyard edge beyond. Glass is suitably screened and framed by steel for visual clarity but also to offer solar protection and create a subtlety to screened views.
Australian Institute of Architects (VIC) Awards, Henry Bastow Award for Educational Architecture, 2022