A new administration building and classroom cluster make up the first two stages of an overall Masterplan for St Patrick's Primary School, Lochinvar. SHAC worked closed with the school community to create open and flexible teaching spaces tailored to the needs of their occupants. The classrooms facilitate the increased use of technology and co-teaching strategies by allowing all three classes across a grade to work together in an open, acoustically controlled setting, while the administration building promotes formal and informal collaboration.
The orientation of buildings creates a clear infants precinct within the school, while strong material selection coupled with a symmetrical design approach has enhanced the schools rural character and helped reinforce to the wider community the Catholic Diocese significant role in education in Lochinvar. Both the administration building and enclosed learning spaces open up to the outdoors, taking advantage of the site and providing an opportunity for outdoor living and learning, which is what living in the country is all about.
SHAC were honoured when St Patrick's Primary School - Stage One won the 2018 Australian Institute of Architects - Newcastle Architecture Awards - Award for Education, 2018 Australian Institute of Architects - NSW Architecture Awards - Award for Education & 2018 Australian Institute of Architects - The Blacket Prize.
“St Patrick's Primary School is an exemplary master planning and architectural solution to the needs of a growing school community with a legacy of outdated and unsuitable school buildings. The design accomplishes much with little. Modesty scaled buildings are clustered to form a new school address and heart, creating the armature for new methods of teaching and learning.
Open, flexible indoor and outdoor learning spaces are grouped in threes, sharing space and teaching resources, making collaboration a natural consequence of the architecture. It is evident that the architects have understood and distilled the school's educational and community-building aspirations.
Simple and playfully restrained forms are complemented with robust, inexpensive materials and details, creating a clear sense of purpose and a delight in the rituals of the school day. Classrooms and administrative spaces have a strong connection to, or are, outdoors, reducing building and lifecycle costs and providing a high level of amenity and connection to the natural world.
The new educational and administrative buildings have been sited near to the New England Highway to give the school a legible street address and a stronger relationship with a larger educational precinct. Yet the layout and siting of the buildings shields the learning spaces from the main road, generating a new focus for all school buildings and activities.”
- Australian Institute of Architects, 2018 Awards Jury.