Guildford Grammar School has recently unveiled its new state-of-the-art co-educational classrooms and administration building for children in years one to six.
The project designed by architects CHRISTOU Design Group, has seamlessly integrated learning, discovery and play, in a building that refl ects both modern architecture and the School’s long history.
A key element of the project is the central courtyard, which features a unique nature play area. Wet and dry playgrounds intertwine elements of water, quarried stone and native fl ora with slides, tunnels, and sand pits.
“Play is a big component of the Preparatory School. Nature play allowed the School’s wetland context to merge with the educational pedagogy of the School,” CHRISTOU’s Associate Director Steven Smyth said.
Responding to the nature-rich landscape, the design features a series of buildings composed of face brick, Donnybrook stone (referencing the iconic school chapel), zinc and glass curtain walls; nestled into the hillside with views towards the wetlands and fl oodplain.
“The learning environment is seamless, running from the external space right through to the classroom. There is no inside and outside, the whole place is about learning, exploration and discovery,” Mr Smyth said.
The project incorporates advancements in learning and building technologies. Highly fl exible classroom spaces are equipped with projection, audio and touch screen displays, whilst a Building Management System (BMS) automates climate control - operating windows to allow for pre-cooling and night purging of spaces. The building also includes a seven kilowatt solar array to offset energy use throughout the day.
CHRISTOU was faced with a number of obstacles in designing these buildings, overcoming physical, operational and geotechnical constraints to deliver a holistic design that responds to the site, context and culture of the School.