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South Melbourne Primary School is Open for business!

07 March 2018

Authored by Hayball

You may recall from the previous issue of Exchange that South Melbourne Primary School (SMPS) was nearing completion towards the end of last year? Well now the waiting is over for Victoria’s (and Hayball’s) first vertical school to open its doors. Rising to a height of six levels, and sitting proudly within its surrounding inner-urban context our most revolutionary and exciting education project to date welcomed its first cohort of students last month, an enthusiastic crew of young minds who represent the next generation of Victoria’s urban youth.

In 2016, SMPS took home the coveted “Future Project of the Year” award at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin before a single sod of earth had been turned on the site. Looking at the finished product, we are so proud of how it looks and feels, how it responds to the needs of its students and community, and how it embraces the evolution in educational philosophy. The school boasts a series of key design innovations, including the integration of shared school and community facilities. By accommodating a public primary school alongside the new ‘Barring Djinang’ Early Learning Centre, an integrated maternal and child health centre, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, and multi-functional community rooms, the idea of a ‘school’ has been turned on its head, becoming an active catalyst for education, engagement, and shared community growth.

Hayball Director Richard Leonard said he was thrilled to see our design for South Melbourne Primary School come to fruition in less than two years.

“This school is an exemplar of a contemporary learning environment, developed within the context of inner urban regeneration and focusing on the needs of today’s students and the wider community,”

The school is an example of current thinking in both pedagogy and urban planning—delivering contemporary education with the learner and learning at the core of its design. Teaching spaces are arranged around Learning Communities to facilitate aged-based or stage-based learning. The building lay-out is characterised by varied, flexible student-centric spaces that connect internally and flow seamlessly between indoor and outdoor areas at every level. Located within Fishermans Bend, Australia’s largest urban renewal area, the school has been designed to adapt and support its local community, which is expected to grow to over 80,000 residents within the next 40 years.

‘These kids are going to be the scientists and the marine biologists of the future because, within a stone’s throw, they’ve got all of that at their doorstep.’

Noel Creece – Principal

The facility incorporates both indoor and outdoor learning spaces; a vertical piazza; shared kitchens, studios and reading lounges; external play areas; tech rooms; food hubs; sports courts; interactive learning centres and a gymnasium. Hayball employed a rigorous research-led approach to this project, implementing a range of key insights acquired through intensive academic research and via collaboration with industry experts, incorporating best practice as applied to innovative learning environments.

This is vertical school design at its very best, right here in the Education State.
It won’t just meet the educational needs of students, but service the wider community as well—this will be the beating heart of South Melbourne.

Martin Foley, MP

Watch this lovely video that captures the happiest first day of school we’ve ever seen!

Further reading:

South Melbourne Primary School One Month to Go
Inspiring Young Regional Designers, Lisa Horton
Vertical School Rising, Drone Footage
Vertical Schools wins Future Project
Innovative School shortlisted for International Award
Designs for New Vertical School Unveiled