A small group of Deakin University School of Architecture staff were invited to step onto the building site at the Geelong College Junior School earlier this month to tour the $22 million dollar, state of the art upgraded educational facility being constructed on Minerva Rd Newtown campus.
Of particular interest to the group was how the design draws upon the school’s pedagogies inspired in approach by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. A critical aspect of the approach considers the environment to be ‘the third teacher’. The planning is closely linked to the landscapes of the site. The new school buildings are shaped to provide the optimal amenity and aspect for the learning ateliers. A zig-zag plan form brings south light into all the learning environments and provides long views across the playing fields. The form retains the existing site trees, and promotes natural cross ventilation of the spaces.
The existing courtyards will be amplified by creating a performing arts precinct around them. Existing standalone classroom pavilions will be re-adapted into music and drama studios and a new multi-purpose room will allow the whole school to gather.
The plan is zoned creating year level communities, each with its own identity.
Buildings and spaces have been designed to be are linked together by a continuous verandah, promoting outdoor spaces for learning and social play.
The purpose of the 30-year strategic study was to bring the College’s facilities into the 21st century for student learning and well-being. The project which broke ground in 2017 is now nearing completion of its first stage.