Northern Beaches Christian School by WMK Architecture
Sustainable Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
Northern Beaches Christian School has been reconfigured to allow for both indoor and outdoor learning environments. The architects have reconnected existing classrooms and established new collaborative spaces under an impressive eleven-metre-high, three-thousand-square-metre canopy. A series of multi-level pavilions provide a variety of new spaces, including a science laboratory, main reception and administration as well as a separate cafeteria, outdoor stage, seating and other flexible outdoor learning spaces. It’s an approach that encourages freedom of learning and interaction, while also allowing students to connect with the local environment.
While open, the outdoor spaces are protected by the prefabricated steel structure, which offers a range of environmental efficiencies. These include energy generation and rainwater harvesting as well as intelligently controlled lighting, ventilation and shading. Sustainability goals are advanced by the students’ ability to actively engage with and monitor the building’s performance, which teachers can incorporate within their programs. This high-quality project is a pleasure to experience, with a sequence of spaces that are logical, playful and easy to move through. The architects’ close collaboration with the school and its principal has created a vision for an educational environment that promotes communication, creativity and play, sharing strong social and sustainability outcomes.