From a starting point inspired by philosophy learned from the Aboriginal people of the Top End, the school's new elements are integrated into the surroundings using ‘the language of steel, timber and ampelite’ at a scale that remains respectful of the existing concrete and stone structures and strengthens connections with existing buildings on site.
In upgrading the existing courtyard, the concept was to relax concrete colonnades by adding a ‘forest edge’ and a freestanding deck that provides a place for large crowds to gather, perform, display children’s art. The concept for early learning was to re-instate the high interior spaces of the existing stone building and to increase its connection to the outdoors. The new library and hall flank a breezeway which visually connects opposite sides of the school.
In 1967, architects Wilkins Klemm Morrison designed the present two-storey courtyard building, a clearly modernist design, concrete construction and as most buildings constructed at that time designed to be used without air-conditioning.
In 2006 Troppo Architects developed shade structures for the courtyard. A student competition provided the foundation ideas for the brief. Over the ‘E’ Deck (everything deck) a playful theatrical roof provides shade and opportunity for imaginative play and teaching.
The deck is a layering of platforms, the steps relate to the existing hall, tuckshop and colonnade. The free forms of the deck provide a contrast to the repetitive forms of the existing courtyard. Steps of the timber platform are both seats for passive rest, and edges for active play.
In 2007 the existing stone classroom building was converted into an early learning facility which was developed on the philosophies of ‘Reggio emilia’ (the 100 languages of children) with design principles of an architecture for the tropics on a very tight budget.
High ceilings were re-instated to maximise natural lighting, and louvres on one side of the building were replaced with a series of operable mesh sliding doors to allow for indoor and outdoor learning. A new verandah provides shade and protection from the wet season rain.
The final stage of building came soon after with funds from the BER programme. A new dedicated library and a hall were developed as one building, separated by a breezeway space which provided the entry. The hall was located to provide community use opportunities as well as a strong relationship with the cathedral. The library provides a new focal point for the school; it’s not an ‘add on’.
• AIA Northern Territory Awards, The Tracy Memorial Award 2011
• AIA Northern Territory Awards, The Reverend John Flynn Award for Public Architecture 2011
• AIA Northern Territory Awards, Award for Urban Design 2011
• AIA Northern Territory Awards, The COLOLBOND Award for Steel Architecture 2011
• AIA National Public Architecture Award (Commendation) 2011
EXTERIOR ROOF/WALL CLADDING
AMPELITE AUSTRALIA, WEBGLASS GC FIBREGLASS
COURTYARD ROOF SHEETING/ CORRUGATED STEEL ROOF SHEETING
STRAMIT BUILDING PRODUCTS, CUSTOM BLUE ORB ZINCALUME FINISH
HALL AND LIBRARY WALL CLADDING
STRAMIT BUILDING PRODUCTS, CORRUGATED ZINCALUME
BUSH TIMBERS, TOP END TIMBERS, PLANTATION PARTNERS
NT ACRYLIC & PLASTICS (NTAP)
DARWIN BLOCK COMPANY
JOINERY PLYWOOD LOUVRES AND SLIDING DOOR FRAMES
BRILLIANT KITCHENS, P.A. JACKSON CABINETMAKER
GLASS AND ALUMINUM