PLC Senior Centre wins design award

PLC Senior Centre wins design award

PMDL Architecture & Design has won the CEFPI Australasia Regional Education Facilities Awards for New Construction: Major Facility for the Pymble Ladies’ College new Senior Centre Kate Mason Building.

The new senior learning centre at PLC is an open learning environment that encourages students to gain independence as they transit beyond their final years of high school.

It features flexible and transparent learning spaces integrated with seminar rooms and common areas, a 260-seat lecture theatre and large group circular conference room, encouraging individual and collective learning activities.

The building incorporates energy efficiency principles, ultilising natural ventilation and mixed mode air conditioning with smart controls, collection and re-use of rain water and thermally efficient materials.

Educating for the future

The new Senior School Centre – Kate Mason Building allows visionary concepts for educating future generations.

Educating for the future is about preparing young people for a world requiring flexibility, problem solving skills, technology skills, analytical skills and team work. It is no longer about the delivery of content.

The design of the building provides the framework for fostering a learning community and paves the way for teachers and senior students to develop a learning culture based on partnership, innovation, the generation of ideas and creativity and diversity in searching for solutions.

Discrete learning spaces are interconnected and highly visible, and open to a shared common space, over two levels, which forms the hub of the building.

The provision of a range of learning settings, and the identification of timetabled, non-timetabled and bookable spaces creates a range of options not previously available in a campus comprising mainly traditional facilities.

Connection to the College Library, via a bridge, effectively extended the reach of the centre, and added to the range of learning settings available to the girls

The College has partnered with Cisco to equip the new learning environment as a centre for innovation in education, giving Pymble students access to the very latest technologies.

Staff rooms are based on each level allowing teachers to be readily accessible to students.

The flexible open space design with common room and coffee shop provides spaces for students and staff to mix freely and to work together in a comfortable environment.

Awards judges comments

“In assessing this submission the judges unanimously agreed that the Kate Mason Building represented the culmination of a collective and rigorous planning process between the school and the appointed architects together with a design solution which fully reflected the experiences for each group and the school/community requirements.

“The genesis came from a Strategic Review Process which resulted in a restructure of the secondary school into three schools. This was in response to both the large size of the school and the need to differentiate the pedagogy and learning.

“This process involved researching exemplary learning environments from around the world, visiting schools throughout Australia that utilise different learning space configurations.

“Sustainability options were explored by the wider teaching staff and community who expressed their views on teaching and learning for the future. A separate identity as a freestanding building and entity also reaffirms the intent to create schools within a school.

“The end result is a testimony to the thorough briefing and planning processes. The school now has a facility incorporating the latest technologies to support the educational programs and enhance teacher professional development in ICT across the school. A range of ESD initiatives enable the building to achieve energy performance levels more than 80% in excess of the Building Code requirements.”

The awards ceremony was conducted as part of the 2011 CEFPI International Congress held at Darling Harbour in Sydney. The awards attracted 91 submissions from Australia and overseas and were judged in three categories.

See the project overview.

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