Home' Teacher : May 2011 Contents 46 TEACHER MAY 2011
already planned in a team, we wanted them
to have the opportunity to teach in a team,
albeit for a portion of the day as they still
resided in their individual classrooms. We
also wanted the new learning space to have
a variety of smaller spaces where inquiry
learning addressing whatever concept was
being explored at any given time could
Adjunct spaces surrounded the central
library, offering more specific learning envi-
ronments. Specialised areas include:
a technology space for woodwork, con-
struction and manufacture
a natural science space that includes an
external eco garden, and fish and yabby
an information and com mu nication
technology-enriched multimedia space
incorporating a chroma key green screen
and recording studio
a mini amphitheatre space with tiered
seating for students to sit informally
for instructional, drama or audiovisual
an art and cooking space with stovetops,
ovens, culinary sinks and art equipment,
an exterior teaching space protected
under a wide verandah with edible gar-
dens that encircles the entire learning
We know that contemporary learning is
about more than just creating spaces and
introducing technological innovations.
Writing in these pages in April last year,
Sue Wilks in 'Building pedagogy' explained
that in-depth professional development is
required during and after teachers and stu-
dents occupy new spaces if you want new
designs to change teaching and learning.
Pedagogical renewal and curriculum design
are also critical factors in any meaningful
shift. A team of educators from Resurrec-
tion began attending workshops last year
and is continuing to do that this year to
ensure that school improvement is embed-
ded. That team, in turn, will in-service
all staff in the principles of contemporary
The idea of the education partnership, for me, crystallised over time. Resurrection
School principal Steve Bellesini and parish priest Brian Collins are refreshingly
honest and straightforward. Together, we began by spelling out the requirements
of the building on paper, clarifying these over time through consultation with all
end users. The building we were talking about was less of a traditional library and
more of a learning vehicle that had the ability to morph into something the user
needed. An ephemeral idea without, as yet, materialisation.
Steve and I visited Woorana Park Primary School nearby, which Mary
Featherston discusses in detail in 'The "Inside-Out" project,' and of course I read
up as much as possible on her work.
Ideas then began to coalesce into three-dimensional form. This process was a
natural progression for me as Featherston's theories about the built environment
and their relationship to learning sat very comfortably with me, and the project
quickly unfolded through drawings and fu rther discussion with all participants.
I found myself surrounded by incredibly enthusiastic people wanting to engage
in this exciting process to create a whole new learning process and environment
for Resurrection School.
What came out of that process was a contemporary learning centre imagined
as a transparent structure that slid between and on top of an existing decorative
polychrome brickwork facade. The idea was that it would strategically insert its
body into the skin of the old, absorbing and framing it within a new composition.
We wanted the contemporary learning centre to open itself to the outside world,
and offer multiple perspectives of a rich and complex world beyond in ways that
are inclusive, experiential and multicultural.
The library was the preeminent feature with the study of literature being the core
emphasis. The central library space was zoned into junior and senior student areas
using a large semi- circular couch and reading tables to bring students together.
Casual reading was encouraged through comfortable sofas, ottomans and low
tables throughout the reading areas.
Mark Meaden is a Melbourne architect. Phone 03 9486 2863
The education partnership
ARCHITECT MARK MEADEN EXPLAINS HOW A GOOD
DESIGN PARTNERSHIP REALLY WORKS.
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