vertical school architecture

Adelaide Botanic High School is not only Adelaide’s first vertical school, but also the first vertical high school in Australia, according to Cox Architecture. 

It is a STEM-focused school in an established education and cultural precinct in the north-east corner of the city, set within the parklands and adjacent to the Botanic Garden, zoo, universities and associated buildings alone Frome Road.

The concept for the urban high school was to create a contemporary and innovative learning environment that has a strong connection to the surrounding landscape.

As a result, the school has been designed with an abundance of light and open spaces. Traditionally closed off, classrooms have also been fitted with glass panels to maximise visibility.

vertical school architecture

The school includes flexible learning spaces connected through an “active atrium” over five levels. The school’s STEM and inter-disciplinary focus will also be on display with a gallery/exhibition space on the ground level and a series of learning pods in the central atrium space.

The internal space acts as a continuation of the external landscape and parkland setting, creating an indoor-outdoor connection that will enhance the student learning experience.

“The vision for the school is very much a school that brings young people together as social learners. It’s a building that has been designed with learning in mind,” says school principal Alistair Brown.

“From a building perspective, before any design work had actually taken place, a lot of work went into looking at what is the learning that students need for the future and how will the building then respond in its design for that future learning. Our students will experience a very connected environment, a very exposed environment.”

“Throughout we’ve taken an exposed services strategy so the kids can see things like cable runs and air conditioning ducts and plumbing piping,” adds Wayne Dixon, director at Design Inc.

“The building itself is really a teaching tool.”