Our organisation for the Kingswood Post Primary School facilitates collegiality and informal learning by clustering general and discipline-based classrooms around internal courtyards. Three general classroom clusters, divided into 1st and 2nd years, 3rd and 4th years, and 5th and 6th years, are organised sequentially such that, as students move up in school years, they move from a position closest to the school administration to increasingly more autonomous locations in the building. Social gathering spaces adjacent to the courtyards, furnished with bookshelves and casual seating, support informal peer-based learning and social cohesion within grades.
Rooted to the landscape in a one-storey structure, the building takes advantage of the sloping site through a series of stepped platforms which follow the natural grading of the site. Each floor level articulates a program cluster, with 1:20 ramps creating a fluid procession through the building. Internal courtyards bring the natural landscape into the building interior, creating light-filled interiors and naturally ventilated classrooms. Internal walls are arranged to allow views through the building and preserve sightlines to the outdoors.
Passive design strategies and sustainable building practices are integral to the building’s performance. The prevalent thin building section allows for an abundance of natural daylighting and cross-ventilation, the stepped section avoids excessive cut and fill, and a green roof mitigates water runoff and promotes healthy microclimates.
A courtyard off the main entry, together with the General Purpose/Dining Room, serve as the social heart of the school, encouraging community and informal learning. A courtyard south of the PE Hall supports active outdoor play, and a small courtyard for administration promotes staff collaboration and serves as a place of respite from the busy school day. A sensory garden in the special needs suite brings light into the central activities space and offers a place of quiet contemplation.
Project Team: Tim Bade, Jane Stageberg, Martin Cox, Andrew Skey, Alex Crean, Jessica Rivera, Caoimhin Conway