Wurun Senior Campus has recently won the New Educational Campus award and was additionally honoured with a Special Commendation at the 2022 Learning Environments Australasia (LEA) Victorian/Tasmanian Chapter Awards.
The LEA Awards seek to bridge ‘…the interplay between teaching and learning methodology and space by identifying examples of good educational spaces where innovative architectural ideas successfully support an educational philosophy.’
Designed by GHDWoodhead and Grimshaw, Wurun Senior Campus is a new, highly sustainable, vertical campus that brings together students from two existing government schools - Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School - to expand the choice of subjects and better meet the needs of the senior students.
The judge’s citation for the New Educational Campus Award celebrates Wurun Senior Campus in inner-city Melbourne as ‘… an exemplar project from aspirations through to planning and delivery. It sets a new benchmark for public secondary education facilities and a new model for vertical schools in tight urban sites that integrate outdoor learning and recreation spaces throughout.’
With capacity to accommodate 650 students the Wurun Senior Campus has been designed as a modern learning environment to facilitate different learning programs within an interdisciplinary model of learning and teaching that suits individual learning styles and offers a high degree of flexibility.
To achieve this, the design team focused on creating a tertiary-level education experience, enabling a self-directed and project-based approach to learning, and departing from traditional timetable models. This was the key strategy for supporting the schools’ ambition to help students build the ‘21st Century skills’ needed to be adaptable, innovative, and ready to navigate their future beyond high school certificates
Linda Mitchell, Fitzroy High School Principal and Sam Luck, Collingwood College Principal said, “Our senior program aims to offer more choice, to build the 21st century skills needed, to be adaptable and innovative, ready to navigate their future beyond high school certificates… Wurun Senior Campus has been custom designed and built to help us facilitate this.”
Constructed as part of the regeneration of the historic Fitzroy Gasworks precinct in Melbourne’s inner north, the Wurun Senior Campus folds around a prominent corner site so that it may integrate with the precinct’s future sports complex. The design takes advantage of this positioning, with the building form stepping up along its length to create a series of landscaped outdoor terraces and an abundance of outdoor space.
Each terrace allows direct connection to interior learning environments to promote a diverse pedagogical offering as well as health and wellbeing through the provision of abundant natural light, airflow, views and recreation spaces.
In being designed to equip students with 21st century skills, each level provides specialist settings for performing arts, art and design, technology, science, food, resources centre and sports. Connections between these specialist precincts and the general learning hubs blur the traditional boundaries between subjects and encourage interdisciplinary learning.
As this year 12 student says, “You can really tell that the design was created for senior students because there’s so many areas for free sessions, for individual study, places where it makes it easier to work, or you can really focus and get work done. I think especially for Year 12 it helps reinforce there’s a goal at the end and that you’re working towards something.
Chris Millard, Wurun Senior Campus Principal says “It's been fantastic working with the design team over the past few years. We are so excited to be working in the building and have had wonderfully positive feedback from the teaching and admin staff. Students really love being at the campus.”