Lowanna College is a State Secondary School located in the Latrobe Valley that was built in the early 1990s as a amalgamation of three State Schools. It is a modern school with good facilities throughout the campus style environment of classrooms and generous landscaped spaces. When we were asked to improve the school we believed that not much needed to change and that we would simply add a new design layer to parts of the existing teaching spaces that already existed. Our aim was to reinvigorate some of the spaces so that they portrayed a more contemporary look and feel as well as give the teachers and students greater flexibility and freedom to learn and explore ideas. We were careful not to change too much – but simply to use the allocated modest budget to bring a degree of freshness and new-ness to the spaces that already existed.
Our approach was to introduce a material and colour scheme that reflected a palette that is inspired by the local landscape and use circular geometric shapes to contrast the rectilinear spaces within which we sought to transform. We also carefully introduce large operable walls that could open the spaces for large groups, end of semester exams and trade based exhibitions. Or the operable walls could closed to create individual classroom spaces for teaching. The idea was to create a tertiary style set of spaces that the year 12 students could see as something different to the rest of the school and as such help to prepare their outlook to the next stage of their life journey.
One of the reasons this project was so enjoyable for us is that the School Principal leadership team had a clear vision for their school. It was rewarding to be able to take their vision to empower teachers and students and design a set of spaces that enable collaborative learning based on individual needs and expectations. Throughout the project we worked closely with the Builder (DUCON Maintenance) and our Client the Victorian School Building Authority to deliver a project on time and on budget.