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St Michael’s Grammar The Gipson Commons

St Michael’s Grammar The Gipson Commons

Client:
St Michael's Grammar School

Location:
St Kilda, VIC

Status:
Built, 2016

Floor Area:
6000 sqm

Contact Person:
John Sprunt

Architectus has designed a new K-Year 12 educational building for St Michael’s Grammar School, known as The Gipson Commons. Rising over three levels, The Gipson Commons includes spaces for knowledge, science, food technology and school café within an urban context of adjacent apartments, townhouses and individual residences amid a busy road.

At ground level the building works seamlessly with the ground plane of the school campus – revealing a cafeteria space that is almost part of the landscape – a space for refuelling, recreation, learning and social interaction.

The stairway to the upper levels marks the transition into more dedicated spaces for learning. The uppermost floors of the building are dedicated to a hybrid science / knowledge facility, where practical areas are defined by the need for specialist services and the interstitial space can be used by class groups, individual learning and group work with reflective zones located away from social ‘centres’.

These ‘spaces for possibilities’ are premised on the Balinese House – consisting of a spacious courtyard (atrium) with small pavilions (pods), and ringed by a wall (façade). These visually and acoustically screened pods are the structural framework and also provide a further array of learning environments and opportunities. This is not a single building but a neighbourhood of purposeful spaces.

The central atrium ‘connects’ the specialist and general learning spaces, promoting ‘possibilities’ through varied and targeted use of space. This central space is the physical manifestation of “The Commons” as an area that is used and enjoyed by all.

The dual-level blending of Science Technology and Knowledge is part of a reimagining of Science through ‘socialising’ it and making it more attractive to students by seamlessly combining research with experimentation and discussion so that teaching and learning synergies are fully supported and encouraged.

 

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“We have been immensely pleased with the final design and the building’s evolution. Its outcome has exceeded all expectations that we had when we first considered the design brief: not only has it provided flexible and adaptable spaces for 21st century learning, it has also privileged opportunities for new possibilities in learning that we had never considered.”

Mr Simon Gipson, Head of the School

Client:
St Michael's Grammar School

Location:
St Kilda, VIC

Status:
Built, 2016

Floor Area:
6000 sqm

Contact Person:
John Sprunt

Awards

Australian Institute of Architects, National Interior Architecture Award, Commendation, 2017

Australian Institute of Architects (VIC), Interior Architecture Award, 2017

Association for Learning Environments Australasia, An Education Initiative / Design Solution for an Innovative Program, Commendation, 2016

Association for Learning Environments Australasia, Educational Facility Planning Awards (VIC), New Individual Facility, Commendation, 2016

Australian Timber Design Awards, Timber Panels Award, 2016