Intent on establishing an environment that imbues collaboration and flexibility, the project at Aspendale Gardens Primary School sought to transform and refurbish the previously cellular and isolated general-purpose classrooms into an open and warm environment, more conducive to teaching and learning.
Accordingly, we conducted several workshops with the students, teachers and wider community in order to fully understand and empathise with their appreciation of the school. Thus, the design narrative manifested from the school’s fondness of their Vegetable Garden.
This notion of ‘bringing the veggie garden in’ promoted ideas of a learning environment that was dynamic and malleable, akin to the outdoors; a space in which children are free to dwell and develop in their own niches of the ‘garden’, yet still remain within the guiding capabilities of their teachers. Catering to the vast and varying learning abilities of the children, the design outcome eschews traditional classroom layouts, instead providing a highly versatile Collaborative Centre, which is to be sculpted and moulded for and by the children. With the Aspendale project, we not only intend to provide a more vibrant, cosy and playful environment for the teachers and students, but our hope is to conceive a new stigma around teaching and learning: a place where the teacher’s responsibility is not to dictate every action of the children, but instead to facilitate their growth – like plants in the vegetable garden.